Background data: Recent literature has suggested that completion axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in breast carcinoma patients with positive SLN may not be necessary. However, a method for determining the risk of non-SLN or extranodal disease remains to be established. Aims: To determine if pathological variables from primary tumors and sentinel lymph node (SLN) metastases could predict the probability of non-sentinel lymph node (NSLN) metastases and extranodal disease in patients with breast carcinoma and SLN metastases. Methods: 84 women with T1-3 breast cancer and clinically-negative axillae underwent completion ALND. Maximum diameter and width of SLN metastases were measured to calculate metastatic area. When multiple SLNs contained metastases, areas were summed to calculate the Total Metastatic Area (TMA). Multiple linear regression models were used to identify predictive factors. Results: Her-2/neu over-expression increased the odds of NSLN metastases (OR 4.3, p = 0.01) and extranodal disease (OR 7.9, p < 0.001). Independent SLN predictors were ≥1 positive SLN (OR, 7.35), maximum diameter and area of SLN metastases (OR 2.26, 1.85 respectively) and TMA (OR, 2.12). Maximum metastatic diameter/SLN diameter (OR 3.71, p = 0.04) and the area of metastases/SLN area (OR 3.4, p = 0.04) were predictive. For every 1 mm increase in diameter of SLN metastases, the odds of NSLN extranodal disease increased by 8.5% (p = 0.02). TMA >0.40 cm 2 was an independent predictor for NSLN metastases and extranodal disease. Conclusion: Her-2/neu over-expression and parameters assessing metastatic burden in the SLN, particularly TMA, predicted the presence of NSLN involvement and extranodal disease in patients with breast carcinoma and SLN metastases.
- Axillary lymph node dissection
- Metastatic breast cancer
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy