Axillary disease recurrence after sentinel lymph node dissection for breast carcinoma
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BACKGROUND: Surgical recommendation for early-stage breast carcinoma includes removal of the primary breast tumor and evaluation of the axillary lymph nodes on the ipsilateral side. Sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) is increasingly being used to evaluate axillary lymph nodes in clinically lymph node negative patients as an alternative to axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). Results from SLND are highly predictive of metastatic involvement in the axilla, and are associated with fewer side effects. However, the greatest concern with SLND alone is the potential for a higher rate of axillary lymph node recurrence. The purpose of the current study was to review data collected on 700 consecutive patients with early-stage breast carcinoma who underwent SLND without concomitant ALND. METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted using the oncology registry at Park Nicollet Health Services (Minneapolis, MN). Consecutive breast carcinoma cases with SLND only for axillary surgery, from January 28, 1999 to December 31, 2003, were included in the study. During this period, 700 patients with breast carcinoma were identified who had SLND alone. Fifty-two patients were excluded from the analysis because they had ductal carcinoma in situ. RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 33 months (range, 2-73 mos), axillary lymph node recurrence occurred in 4 of 647 (0.62%) patients overall. In these 4 patients, the axillary lymph node recurrences were isolated to the axillary lymph nodes and amenable to surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Data from the current study showed that axillary lymph node recurrence after SLND occurred very infrequently in early-stage breast carcinoma, and these results were comparable to other studies.
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