Background: The need for axillary nodal staging in favorable histologic subtypes of breast cancer is controversial. Methods: Patients with clinical stage T1-2, N0 breast cancer were enrolled in a prospective, multi-institutional study. All patients underwent sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy followed by completion level I/II axillary dissection. Results: SLN were identified in 3,106 of 3,324 patients (93%). Axillary metastases were found in 35% and 40% of patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma and infiltrating lobular carcinoma, respectively. Among tumor subtypes, positive nodes were found in 17% of patients with pure tubular carcinoma, 7% of patients with papillary cancer, 6% of patients with colloid (mucinous) carcinoma, 21% of patients with medullary carcinoma, and 8% of patients with DCIS with microinvasion. Conclusions: Patients with favorable breast cancer subtypes have a significant rate of axillary nodal metastasis. Axillary nodal staging remains important in such patients; SLN biopsy is an ideal method to obtain this staging information.
- Axillary lymph node dissection
- Breast cancer
- Sentinel node biopsy