Background and Objectives
Three year post-surgical morbidity levels were compared between patients with negative sentinel lymph node dissection alone (SLND) and those with negative sentinel node dissection and negative axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in the NSABP B-32 trial.
A total of 1975 ALND and 2008 SLND node negative breast cancer patients had shoulder range of motion and arm volumes assessed along with self reports of arm tingling and numbness. Relative shoulder abduction deficits and relative arm volume differences between ipsilateral and contralateral arms were calculated.
Shoulder abduction deficits ≥ 10% peaked at one week for the ALND (75%) and SLND (41%) groups. Arm volume differences ≥ 10% at 36 months were evident for the ALND (14%) and SLND (8%) groups. Numbness and tingling peaked at 6 months for the ALND (49%, 23%) and SLND (15%, 10%) groups. Logistic regression correlates of residual morbidity included treatment group, age, handedness, tumor size, systemic chemotherapy and radiation to the axilla.
Although residual morbidity for both treatment groups was evident, the results of the NSABP B-32 study indicate the superiority of the SLND compared to the ALND treatment approach relative to post-surgical morbidity outcomes over a three year follow-up period.
shoulder abduction; arm swelling; numbness; tingling
Scapula alata (SA) is a known complication of breast surgery associated with palsy of the serratus anterior, but it is seldom mentioned. We evaluated the risk factors associated with SA and the relationship of SA with ipsilateral shoulder/arm morbidity in a series of patients enrolled in a trial of post-surgery radiotherapy (RT).
The trial randomized women with completely resected stage I-II breast cancer to short-course image-guided RT, versus conventional RT. SA, arm volume and shoulder-arm mobility were measured prior to RT and at one to three months post-RT. Shoulder/arm morbidities were computed as a post-RT percentage change relative to pre-RT measurements.
Of 119 evaluable patients, 13 (= 10.9%) had pre-RT SA. Age younger than 50 years old, a body mass index less than 25 kg/m2, and axillary lymph node dissection were significant risk factors, with odds ratios of 4.8 (P = 0.009), 6.1 (P = 0.016), and 6.1 (P = 0.005), respectively. Randomization group was not significant. At one to three months’ post-RT, mean arm volume increased by 4.1% (P = 0.036) and abduction decreased by 8.6% (P = 0.046) among SA patients, but not among non-SA patients. SA resolved in eight, persisted in five, and appeared in one patient.
The relationship of SA with lower body mass index suggests that SA might have been underestimated in overweight patients. Despite apparent resolution of SA in most patients, pre-RT SA portended an increased risk of shoulder/arm morbidity. We argue that SA warrants further investigation. Incidentally, the observation of SA occurring after RT in one patient represents the second case of post-RT SA reported in the literature.
Breast cancer; Surgery; Radiation treatment; Complications; Winged scapula; Scapular winging; Long thoracic nerve; Multiple outcomes; Shoulder/arm morbidity; Lymphedema
Background: In arm lymphedema secondary to axillary surgery and radiotherapy (breast cancer-related lymphedema), the swelling is largely epifascial and lymph flow per unit epifascial volume is impaired. The subfascial muscle compartment is not measurably swollen despite the iatrogenic damage to its axillary drainage pathway, but this could be due to its low compliance. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that subfascial lymph drainage too is impaired.
Methods and Results: Quantitative lymphoscintigraphy was used to measure the removal rate constant (local lymph flow per unit distribution volume) for technetium-99m-human immunoglobulin G injected intramuscularly in the forearms of nine women with unilateral lymphedema. The removal rate constant was on average 31% lower in the ipsilateral swollen forearm than in the contralateral forearm (swollen arm: −0.096 ± 0.041% min−1, contralateralarm: −0.138 ± 0.037% min−1; mean ± SD, p = 0.037). The decrease in subfascial rate constant correlated strongly with increase in arm volume (r 0.88, p = 0.002), even though the swelling is mainly epifascial. There was no convincing evidence of dermal backflow.
Conclusions: Lymph flow in the subfascial muscle compartment is decreased in breast cancer-related lymphedema. The correlation between impairment of subfascial drainage and epifascial arm swelling could be because both depend on the severity of axillary damage, or because loss of function in subfascial lymphatics impairs drainage from the epifascial to the subfascial system.
Patients with upper limb pain often have a slumped sitting position and poor shoulder posture. Pain could be due to poor posture causing mechanical changes (stretch; local pressure) that in turn affect the function of major limb nerves (e.g. median nerve). This study examines (1) whether the individual components of slumped sitting (forward head position, trunk flexion and shoulder protraction) cause median nerve stretch and (2) whether shoulder protraction restricts normal nerve movements.
Longitudinal nerve movement was measured using frame-by-frame cross-correlation analysis from high frequency ultrasound images during individual components of slumped sitting. The effects of protraction on nerve movement through the shoulder region were investigated by examining nerve movement in the arm in response to contralateral neck side flexion.
Neither moving the head forward or trunk flexion caused significant movement of the median nerve. In contrast, 4.3 mm of movement, adding 0.7% strain, occurred in the forearm during shoulder protraction. A delay in movement at the start of protraction and straightening of the nerve trunk provided evidence of unloading with the shoulder flexed and elbow extended and the scapulothoracic joint in neutral. There was a 60% reduction in nerve movement in the arm during contralateral neck side flexion when the shoulder was protracted compared to scapulothoracic neutral.
Slumped sitting is unlikely to increase nerve strain sufficient to cause changes to nerve function. However, shoulder protraction may place the median nerve at risk of injury, since nerve movement is reduced through the shoulder region when the shoulder is protracted and other joints are moved. Both altered nerve dynamics in response to moving other joints and local changes to blood supply may adversely affect nerve function and increase the risk of developing upper quadrant pain.
Background: The view that breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) is a simple, direct mechanical result of axillary lymphatic obstruction (‘stopcock’ mechanism) appears incomplete, because parts of the swollen limb (e.g., hand) can remain nonswollen. The lymph drainage rate constant (k) falls in the swollen forearm but not in the spared hand, indicating regional differences in lymphatic function. Here the generality of the hypothesis that regional epifascial lymphatic failure underlies regional swelling was tested. To do so, the regional distribution of epifascial swelling along the forearm was compared with that of epifascial (subcutis) k.
Methods and Results: Epifascial k (local lymph flow per unit distribution volume) was measured by quantitative lymphoscintigraphy of subcutaneous radiolabeled human immunoglobulin IgG in regions of maximal and minimal % swelling in the ipsilateral swollen forearm, and at matching sites in the contralateral nonswollen arm, in 11 women with BCRL. Swelling was maximal distally in 5 patients and proximally in 6. Proximal k, −0.085 ± 0.025% min−1 (mean ± SD), was 27% bigger than distal k, −0.067 ± 0.021% min−1, irrespective of swelling (p = 0.02, two-way repeated measures ANOVA). k fell by 11% from −0.080 ± 0.028% min−1 in the nonswollen arm to −0.072 ± 0.021% min−1 in the swollen arm (p = 0.17, t test). Local epifascial k was not significantly lower, however, at sites of maximal swelling than minimal swelling, and k correlated positively with arm circumference.
Conclusions: A systematic difference in lymph drainage along the axis of the forearm was demonstrated for the first time. Local differences in epifascial k did not, however, explain the regionality of swelling, in keeping with previous evidence that epifascial k does not correlate with differences in swelling between arms, whereas subfascial k does. The results lead to the rejection of the hypothesis that epifascial (cf. subfascial) lymph drainage rate constants govern epifascial swelling in human forearm.
Long-term shoulder and arm function following sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) may surpass that following complete axillary lymph node dissection (CLND) or axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). We objectively examined the morbidity and compared outcomes after SLNB, SLNB + CLND, and ALND in stage I/II breast cancer patients.
Materials and Methods
Breast cancer patients who had SLNB (n = 51), SLNB + CLND (n = 55), and ALND (n = 65) were physically examined 1 day before surgery (T0), and after 6 (T1), 26 (T2), 52 (T3), and 104 (T4) weeks. Differences in 8 parameters between the affected and unaffected arms were calculated. General linear models were computed to examine time, group, and interaction effects.
All outcomes changed significantly, mostly nonlinearly, over time (T0–T4). Between T1 and T4, limitations decreased in abduction (all groups); anteflexion, abduction-exorotation, abduction strength (SLNB + CLND, ALND); flexion strength (SLNB + CLND); and arm volume (SLNB, SLNB + CLND). At T4, limitations in anteflexion (SLNB, ALND), abduction (SLNB + CLND, ALND), exorotation (ALND), abduction-exorotation (all groups), and volume (SLNB + CLND, ALND) increased significantly compared with T0. The SLNB group showed an advantage in anteflexion, abduction, abduction-exorotation, and volume. Groups changed significantly but differently over time in anteflexion, abduction, abduction/exorotation, abduction strength, flexion strength, and volume. Effect sizes varied from 0.19 to 0.00.
Initial declines in range of motion and strength were followed by recovery, although not always to presurgery levels. Range of motion and volume outcomes were better for SLNB than ALND, but not strength. SLNB surpassed SLNB + CLND in 2 of the range of motion variables. The clinical relevance of these results is negligible.
Arm elevation is composed of glenohumeral and scapulothoracic motion. Many reports have addressed changes of scapular position across a spectrum of shoulder disease. However, no study has examined changes in scapular position after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the changes in scapular position after RTSA compared to patients’ contralateral, nonoperated shoulder.
Seven patients that underwent RTSA for cuff tear arthropathy from July 2007 to October 2008 were enrolled. The distance between the long axis of the thoracic spine and the inferior pole of the scapula (lateralization of the scapula) was measured on shoulder A-P radiographs at 0 degrees (the neutral position) and at 30, 60, 90, and 120 degrees of shoulder abduction. In addition, the angle between the long axis of the thoracic spine and medial border of the scapula was measured and compared with the patients’ contralateral shoulder.
Scapulohumeral rhythm was 2.4:1 on the operated shoulder and 4.1:1 on the nonoperated, contralateral shoulder at 120 degrees of abduction. The distance between the line of the interspinous process of upper thoracic vertebra and the inferior pole of the scapula showed a negative slope at 0 to 30 degrees abduction on the operated side, but beyond 30 degrees of abduction, this distance showed a more sudden increase than in the contralateral shoulder. The angle between the vertical vertebral line and the scapular medial border also showed greater increase beyond 30 degrees abduction on the operated limb.
The pattern of scapular position after RTSA, was found to differ from that of the contralateral shoulder, and showed a more scapular upward rotation.
Scapular position; Scapulohumeral rhythm; Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty (RTSA)
Many patients suffer from severe shoulder complaints after breast cancer surgery and axillary lymph node dissection. Physiotherapy has been clinically observed to improve treatment of these patients. However, it is not a standard treatment regime. The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficacy of physiotherapy treatment of shoulder function, pain and quality of life in patients who have undergone breast cancer surgery and axillary lymph node dissection.
Thirty patients following breast cancer surgery and axillary lymph node dissection were included in a randomised controlled study. Assessments were made at baseline and after three and six months. The treatment group received standardised physiotherapy treatment of advice and exercises for the arm and shoulder for three months; the control group received a leaflet containing advice and exercises. If necessary soft tissue massage to the surgical scar was applied. Primary outcome variables were amount of pain in the shoulder/arm recorded on the Visual Analogue Scale, and shoulder mobility (flexion, abduction) measured using a digital inclinometer under standardized conditions.
Secondary outcome measures were shoulder disabilities during daily activities, edema, grip strength of both hands and quality of life. The researcher was blinded to treatment allocation.
All thirty patients completed the trial. After three and six months the treatment group showed a significant improvement in shoulder mobility and had significantly less pain than the control group. Quality of life improved significantly, however, handgrip strength and arm volume did not alter significantly.
Physiotherapy reduces pain and improves shoulder function and quality of life following axillary dissection after breast cancer.
The axillary reverse mapping (ARM) technique to identify and preserve arm nodes during sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) or axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) was developed to prevent lymphedema. The purpose of this study was to investigate the location and metastatic rate of the arm node, and to evaluate the short term incidence of lymphedema after arm node preserving surgery.
From January 2009 to October 2010, 97 breast cancer patients who underwent ARM were included. Blue-dye (2.5 mL) was injected into the ipsilateral upper-inner arm. At least 20 minutes after injection, SLNB or ALND was performed and blue-stained arm nodes and/or lymphatics were identified. Patients were divided into two groups, an arm node preserved group (70 patients had ALND, 10 patients had SLNB) and an unpreserved group (13 patients had ALND, 4 patients had SLNB). The difference in arm circumference between preoperative and postoperative time points was checked in both groups.
The mean number of identified blue stained arm nodes was 1.4±0.6. In the majority of patients (92%), arm nodes were located between the lower level of the axillary vein and just below the second intercostobrachial nerve. In the arm node unpreserved group, 2 patients had metastasis in their arm node. Among ALND patients, in the arm node preserved group, the difference in arm circumference between preoperative and postoperative time points in ipsilateral and contralateral arms was 0.27 cm and 0.07 cm, respectively, whereas it was 0.47 cm and -0.03 cm in the unpreserved group; one case of lymphedema was found after 6 months. No difference was found between arm node preserved and unpreserved group among SLNB patients.
Arm node preserving was possible in all breast cancer patients with identifiable arm nodes, during ALND or SLNB, except for those with high surgical N stage, and lymphedema did not develop in patients with arm node preserving surgery.
Arm; Breast neoplasms; Lymphedema; Sentinel lymph node biopsy
Objective To determine the effectiveness of early physiotherapy in reducing the risk of secondary lymphoedema after surgery for breast cancer.
Design Randomised, single blinded, clinical trial.
Setting University hospital in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain.
Participants 120 women who had breast surgery involving dissection of axillary lymph nodes between May 2005 and June 2007.
Intervention The early physiotherapy group was treated by a physiotherapist with a physiotherapy programme including manual lymph drainage, massage of scar tissue, and progressive active and action assisted shoulder exercises. This group also received an educational strategy. The control group received the educational strategy only.
Main outcome measure Incidence of clinically significant secondary lymphoedema (>2 cm increase in arm circumference measured at two adjacent points compared with the non-affected arm).
Results 116 women completed the one year follow-up. Of these, 18 developed secondary lymphoedema (16%): 14 in the control group (25%) and four in the intervention group (7%). The difference was significant (P=0.01); risk ratio 0.28 (95% confidence interval 0.10 to 0.79). A survival analysis showed a significant difference, with secondary lymphoedema being diagnosed four times earlier in the control group than in the intervention group (intervention/control, hazard ratio 0.26, 95% confidence interval 0.09 to 0.79).
Conclusion Early physiotherapy could be an effective intervention in the prevention of secondary lymphoedema in women for at least one year after surgery for breast cancer involving dissection of axillary lymph nodes.
Trial registration Current controlled trials ISRCTN95870846.
An increase in ipsilateral descending motor pathway activity has been reported following hemiparetic stroke. In axial muscles, increased ipsilateral cortical activity has been correlated with good recovery whereas in distal arm muscles it is correlated with poor recovery. Currently, little is known about the control of proximal upper limb muscles following stroke. This muscle group is less impaired than the distal arm muscles following stroke, yet contributes to the abnormal motor coordination patterns associated with movements of the arm which can severely impair reaching ability. This study used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to evaluate the presence and magnitude of ipsilateral and contralateral projections to the pectoralis major (PMJ) muscle in stroke survivors. A laterality index (LI) was used to investigate the relationship between ipsilateral and contralateral projections and strength, clinical impairment level, and the degree of abnormal coordination expressed in the arm. The ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres were stimulated using 90% TMS intensity while the subject generated shoulder adduction torques in both arms. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were measured in the paretic and non-paretic PMJ. The secondary torque at the elbow was measured during maximal adduction as an indicator of the degree of extensor synergy. Ipsilateral MEPs were most common in stroke survivors with moderate to severe motor deficits. The LI was correlated with clinical impairment level (P = 0.05) and the degree of extension synergy expressed in the arm (P = 0.03). The LI was not correlated with strength. These results suggest that increased excitability of ipsilateral pathways projecting to the proximal upper arm may contribute to the expression of the extension synergy following stroke. These findings are discussed in relation to a possible unmasking or upregulation of oligosynaptic cortico-bulbospinal pathways following stroke.
Stroke; Synergy; Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Abnormal; Coordination; Strength
Axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in patients with breast cancer has the potential to induce side-effects, including upper-limb lymphedema. Axillary reverse mapping (ARM) is a technique that enables discrimination of the lymphatic drainage of the breast from that of the upper limb in the axillary lymph node (LN) basin. If lymphedema is caused by removing these lymphatics and nodes in the upper limb, the possibility of identifying these lymphatics would enable surgeons to preserve them. The aim of this study is to determine the clinical relevance of selective axillary LN and lymphatic preservation by means of ARM. To minimize the risk of overlooking tumor-positive ARM nodes and the associated risk of undertreatment, we will only include patients with a tumor-positive sentinel lymph node (SLN). Patients who are candidates for ALND because of a proven positive axillary LN at clinical examination can be included in a registration study.
The study will enroll 280 patients diagnosed with SLN biopsy-proven metastasis of invasive breast cancer with an indication for a completion ALND. Patients will be randomized to undergo standard ALND or an ALND in which the ARM nodes and their corresponding lymphatics will be left in situ. Primary outcome is the presence of axillary surgery-related lymphedema at 6, 12, and 24 months post-operatively, measured by the water-displacement method. Secondary outcome measures include pain, paresthesia, numbness, and loss of shoulder mobility, quality of life, and axillary recurrence risk.
The benefit of ALND in patients with a positive SLN is a subject of debate. For many patients, an ALND will remain the treatment of choice. This multicenter randomized trial will provide evidence of whether or not axillary LN preservation by means of ARM decreases the side-effects of an ALND. Enrolment of patients will start in April 2013 in five breast-cancer centers in the Netherlands, and is expected to conclude by April 2016.
Breast cancer; Axillary lymph node dissection; Breast cancer-related lymphedema; Axillary reverse mapping
Between 1982 and 1990, 321 elderly patients (range 70-92 years, median age 77) with operable breast cancer (T1 in 219, T2 in 77, T3 in one and T4b in 24 patients) and clinically uninvolved axillary nodes underwent surgery without axillary dissection and received adjuvant tamoxifen. All patients had surgery performed under local anaesthesia. Tamoxifen was given after surgery at the dose of 20 mg daily, indefinitely. With a median follow-up of 67 months (range 42-141), 17 patients developed local relapse, 14 ipsilateral axillary recurrence, five ipsilateral breast cancer, five contralateral breast cancer, 13 second primary and 23 developed distant metastases. The cumulative probability of developing a local, axillary and distant recurrence at 72 months was estimated to be 5.4%, 4.3% and 6.2%, respectively. Out of 244 patients who did not develop any relapse, 83 (25.8%) died from intercurrent disease. The 72 month relapse-free survival rate was 76%. This experience suggests that elderly patients with small tumours without clinical axillary involvement may be satisfactorily treated with conservative surgery and tamoxifen. The importance of axillary dissection is controversial owing to a high response rate to hormonal therapy and an increased death rate due to concomitant diseases.
The results of 237 radical axillary dissections undertaken by one surgeon in patients with breast cancer were reviewed to evaluate the role of this procedure in staging and treatment. The accuracy of physical examination in detecting axillary metastases was 68%. With a policy of enforced shoulder immobilisation for 10 days postoperatively, the incidence of postoperative wound complications was 8%. There have been three axillary recurrences during a median follow-up period of 44 months (range 6-97 months). Late complications were assessed in 50 patients followed up for greater than 12 months. While eight patients complained of constant swelling of the arm, only three had a difference in arm circumference of greater than 3 cm and only one had persistent limitation of shoulder abduction. Radical axillary dissection ensures accurate clinical staging and provides excellent local control with few complications and without the need for axillary irradiation.
The influence of passive changes in upper limb position on the excitability of three myotatic arc reflexes (soleus, quadriceps, and biceps femoris) of the lower limb has been explored on 42 volunteers. The results indicate that the excitability of the three myotatic arcs can be influenced at a distance by postural modifications of the upper limb. When the ipsilateral upper limb is forwards or the contralateral backwards, a facilitation of both soleus and quadriceps tendon reflexes is observed while the biceps femoris reflexes are reduced. This pattern of facilitation and inhibition is reversed when the ipsilateral upper limb is backwards or the contralateral forwards. The facilitations as well as inhibitions of proximal myotatic arc reflexes are quantitatively more marked than that of the soleus reflex. Facilitation and inhibition are not linearly related to the angle of the arm with the trunk. Effects begin at a considerable angle, become maximal at 45 degrees, and progressively disappear for greater values. It is suggested that the distinct pattern of facilitation and inhibition which is exerted in reciprocal fashion on extensor and flexor motor nuclei might depend on the long propriospinal neurones connecting cervical and lumbar enlargements.
A fundamental organizational principle of the primate motor system is cortical control of contralateral limb movements. Motor areas also appear to play a role in the control of ipsilateral limb movements. Several studies in monkeys have shown that individual neurons in primary motor cortex (M1) may represent, on average, the direction of movements of the ipsilateral arm. Given the increasing body of evidence demonstrating that neural ensembles can reliably represent information with a high temporal resolution, here we characterize the distributed neural representation of ipsilateral upper limb kinematics in both monkey and man. In two macaque monkeys trained to perform center-out reaching movements, we found that the ensemble spiking activity in M1 could continuously represent ipsilateral limb position. Interestingly, this representation was more correlated with joint angles than hand position. Using bilateral EMG recordings, we excluded the possibility that postural or mirror movements could exclusively account for these findings. In addition, linear methods could decode limb position from cortical field potentials in both monkeys. We also found that M1 spiking activity could control a biomimetic brain-machine interface reflecting ipsilateral kinematics. Finally, we recorded cortical field potentials from three human subjects and also consistently found evidence of a neural representation for ipsilateral movement parameters. Together, our results demonstrate the presence of a high-fidelity neural representation for ipsilateral movement and illustrates that it can be successfully incorporated into a brain-machine interface.
Ipsilateral; Ensemble; Motor Control; Brain-Machine Interface; Electrophysiology; Primary Motor Cortex
Psoriasis is a multi-factorial disease with various clinical manifestations. We present a case of unilateral psoriasis associated with ipsilateral lymphedema that developed after mastectomy for breast cancer. A 42-year-old Korean woman was referred to our clinic with a 1-month history of multiple erythematous scaly patches on the right arm, back, and breast and was diagnosed with psoriasis by a skin biopsy. Three years previously, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer (T1N2), underwent a right quadrantectomy and axillary lymph node dissection, and completed adjuvant chemotherapy followed by high-dose adjuvant radiotherapy. She had started rehabilitation therapy on the right arm for secondary lymphedema 30 months previously. Because of the long interval between radiation and psoriasis, we speculated that changes in the local milieu caused by the lymphedema might be a causative factor. We hereby report a rare case of unilateral psoriasis following post-mastectomy lymphedema.
Breast cancer; Lymphedema; Psoriasis; Unilateral
The After Mapping of the Axilla: Radiotherapy or Surgery? (AMAROS) phase III study compares axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) and axillary radiation therapy (ART) in early breast cancer patients with tumor-positive sentinel nodes. In the ART arm, the extent of nodal involvement remains unknown, which could have implications on the administration of adjuvant therapy. In this preliminary analysis, we studied the influence of random assignment to ALND or ART on the choice for adjuvant treatment.
Patients and Methods
In the first 2,000 patients enrolled in the AMAROS trial, we analyzed the administration of adjuvant systemic therapy. Multivariate analysis was used to assess variables affecting the administration of adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant therapy was applied according to institutional guidelines.
Of 2,000 patients, 566 patients had a positive sentinel node and were treated per random assignment. There was no significant difference in the administration of adjuvant systemic therapy. In the ALND and ART arms, 58% (175 of 300) and 61% (162 of 266) of the patients, respectively, received chemotherapy. Endocrine therapy was administered in 78% (235 of 300) of the patients in the ALND arm and in 76% (203 of 266) of the patients in the ART arm. Treatment arm was not a significant factor in the decision, and no interactions between treatment arm and other factors were observed. Multivariate analysis showed that age, tumor grade, multifocality, and size of the sentinel node metastasis significantly affected the administration of chemotherapy. Within the ALND arm, the extent of nodal involvement remained not significant in a sensitivity multivariate analysis.
Absence of knowledge regarding the extent of nodal involvement in the ART arm appears to have no major impact on the administration of adjuvant therapy.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy was adopted for the staging of the axilla with the assumption that it would reduce the risk of lymphedema in women with breast cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the long-term prevalence of lymphedema after SLN biopsy (SLNB) alone and after SLNB followed by axillary lymph node dissection (SLNB/ALND).
Patients and Methods
At median follow-up of 5 years, lymphedema was assessed in 936 women with clinically node-negative breast cancer who underwent SLNB alone or SLNB/ALND. Standardized ipsilateral and contralateral measurements at baseline and follow-up were used to determine change in ipsilateral upper extremity circumference and to control for baseline asymmetry and weight change. Associations between lymphedema and potential risk factors were examined.
Of the 936 women, 600 women (64%) underwent SLNB alone and 336 women (36%) underwent SLNB/ALND. Patients having SLNB alone were older than those having SLNB/ALND (56 v 52 years; P < .0001). Baseline body mass index (BMI) was similar in both groups. Arm circumference measurements documented lymphedema in 5% of SLNB alone patients, compared with 16% of SLNB/ALND patients (P < .0001). Risk factors associated with measured lymphedema were greater body weight (P < .0001), higher BMI (P < .0001), and infection (P < .0001) or injury (P = .02) in the ipsilateral arm since surgery.
When compared with SLNB/ALND, SLNB alone results in a significantly lower rate of lymphedema 5 years postoperatively. However, even after SLNB alone, there remains a clinically relevant risk of lymphedema. Higher body weight, infection, and injury are significant risk factors for developing lymphedema.
To determine the extent and time course of upper limb impairment and dysfunction in women being treated for breast cancer, and followed prospectively, using a novel physical therapy surveillance model post-treatment.
Patients and Methods
Subjects included adult women with newly diagnosed, untreated, unilateral, Stage I to III BC and normal physiological and biomechanical shoulder function. Subjects were excluded if they had a previous history of BC, or prior injury or surgery of the affected upper limb. Measurements included body weight, shoulder ranges of motion (ROM), manual muscle tests, pain levels, upper limb volume, and an upper limb disability questionnaire (ULDQ). Measurements were taken at baseline (pre surgery), and one, three-six, and 12 months post surgery. All subjects received pre-operative education and exercise instruction and specific physical therapy (PT) protocol after surgery including ROM and strengthening exercises.
All measures of function were significantly reduced one month post surgery, but most recovered to baseline levels by one year post surgery. Some subjects developed signs of lymphedema 3–12 months post surgery, but this did not compromise function. Shoulder abduction, flexion, and external rotation, but not internal rotation ROM, were associated with the ULDQ.
Most women in this cohort undergoing surgery for BC who receive PT intervention may expect a return to baseline ROM and strength by three months. Those who do not reach baseline, often continue to improve and reach their pre-operative levels by one year post surgery. Lymphedema develops independently of shoulder function three to 12 months post surgery, necessitating continued monitoring. A prospective physical therapy model of surveillance allows for detection of early and later onset of impairment following surgery for BC in this specific cohort of patients.
Breast Cancer; Shoulder; Physical Therapy
Cardiac toxicity is an important concern in tangential field breast radiotherapy. In this study, the impact of three different breathing conditions on the dose to surrounding normal structures such as heart, ipsilateral lung, liver and contralateral breast has been assessed. Thirteen patients with early breast cancer who underwent conservative surgery (nine left-sided and four right-sided breast cancer patients) were selected in this study. Spiral CT scans were performed for all the three breathing conditions, viz., deep inspiration breath-hold (DIBH), normal breathing phase (NB) and deep expiration breath-hold (DEBH). Conventional tangential fields were placed on the 3D-CT dataset, and the parameters such as V30 (volume covered by dose >30 Gy) for heart, V20 (volume covered by dose >20 Gy) for ipsilateral lung and V50 (volume receiving >50% of the prescription dose) for heart and liver were studied. The average reduction in cardiac dose due to DIBH was 64% (range: 26.5-100%) and 74% (range: 37-100%) as compared to NB and DEBH respectively. For right breast cancer, DIBH resulted in excellent liver sparing. Our results indicate that in patients with breast cancer, delivering radiation in deep inspiration breath-hold condition can considerably reduce the dose to the surrounding normal structures, particularly heart and liver.
Breast cancer; cardiac dose; organ motion
Previous studies have demonstrated abnormal joint torque coupling and associated muscle coactivations of the upper extremity in individuals with unilateral stroke. We investigated the effect of upper limb configuration on the expression of the well-documented patterns of shoulder abduction/elbow flexion and shoulder adduction/elbow extension. Maximal isometric shoulder and elbow torques were measured in stroke subjects in four different arm configurations. Additionally, an isometric combined torque task was completed where subjects were required to maintain various levels of shoulder abduction/adduction torque while attempting to maximize elbow flexion or extension torque. The dominant abduction/elbow flexion pattern was insensitive to changes in limb configuration while the elbow extension component of the adduction/extension pattern changed to elbow flexion at smaller shoulder abduction angles. This effect was not present in control subjects without stroke. The reversal of the torque-coupling pattern could not be explained by mechanical factors such as muscle length changes or muscle strength imbalances across the elbow joint. Potential neural mechanisms underlying the sensitivity of the adduction/elbow extension pattern to different somatosensory input resultant from changes in limb configuration are discussed along with the implications for future research.
Stroke; Arm; Posture; Torque; Electromyography
Lymphatic drainage outside the ipsilateral axilla in breast cancer is discovered in as many as 25% of all sentinel lymph node procedures and it is evidenced by lymphoscintigraphy. Contralateral axillary drainage is a rare clinical situation, mostly if there is not prior breast surgery, but this situation is extremely exceptional if we also found internal mammary chain drainage. We have not found such a case published in literature. This atypical finding is source of doubts because it could have clinical implications in the management of patients. We present a woman just diagnosed of breast carcinoma with hot nodes in bilateral axillary and ipsilateral internal mammary chain lymph nodes, shown by preoperative lymphoscintigraphy. We review published cases with contralateral axillary drainage, which enhance the role of scintigraphic procedure in such cases and show induced controversies in selecting the most adequate management.
Breast cancer; contralateral axillary drainage; lymphoscintigraphy; sentinel node
Diagnosis of post-breast cancer lymphoedema is difficult because of inconsistent measurement approaches, measurement reliability and validity, and lymphoedema definition and criterion.
To examine lymphoedema occurrence using a body mass index (BMI)-adjusted limb volume change (LVC) as a potentially sensitive alternative criterion for assessment and diagnosis of lymphoedema. Secondary aims were to examine the risk of lymphoedema occurrence in relation to post-operative swelling and limb dominance and the cancer-affected side.
The volume calculated from circumferences of 193 breast cancer survivors was used to analyse lymphoedema assessment. A change ≥5% in affected-arm volume over percent change in BMI in comparison to pre-operative baseline was considered indicative of lymphoedema.
For all participants, 63% met the 5% BMI-adjusted LVC criterion. Dominant limb and cancer-affected side were significantly related to lymphoedema occurrence only in those whose BMI ≥30 (p=0.02), while post-operative swelling significantly increased the lymphoedema risk irrespective of BMI (p=0.01).
The proposed 5% BMI-adjusted LVC criterion provides a more sensitive estimation of post-breast cancer lymphoedema occurrence.
Breast cancer; Arm dominance; Post-operative swelling; Diagnosis of lymphoedema; Body mass index (BMI)
Large randomized clinical trials have established radiotherapy in conjunction with adjuvant systemic treatment as standard treatment in breast cancer after both mastectomy and lumpectomy. Although standard radiation therapy is well tolerated by the majority of patients, some patients might suffer from late normal tissue effects.
The literature on radiotherapy following surgery of breast cancer was reviewed with regard to late toxicity.
Radiotherapy may, to some degree, cause persistent pain in the breast, arm and shoulder in up to 30–50% of patients after 3–5 years, lymphedema in 15–25%, and restriction of arm and shoulder movement in 35%. Awareness of cardiotoxicity is needed since anthracyclines, trastuzumab, and radiotherapy may cause damage to the heart. However, using modern radiotherapy techniques, the available evidence does not suggest a higher incidence of cardiac mortality.
This review updates the database on toxicity from radiation in breast cancer. Advances in research of radiation-induced late effects may lead to improved treatment choices for breast cancer patients including radiotherapy and may improve quality of life after surviving breast cancer.
Breast cancer; Late effects; Radiotherapy