The guideline for postmastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT), which is prescribed to reduce recurrence of breast cancer in the chest wall and improve overall survival, is not always followed. Identifying and extracting important patterns of non-compliance are crucial in maintaining the quality of care in Oncology.
Analysis of 759 patients with malignant breast cancer using decision tree induction (DTI) found patterns of non-compliance with the guideline. The PMRT guideline was used to separate cases according to the recommendation to receive or not receive PMRT. The two groups of patients were analyzed separately. Resulting patterns were transformed into rules that were then compared with the reasons that were extracted by manual inspection of records for the non-compliant cases.
Analyzing patients in the group who should receive PMRT according to the guideline did not result in a robust decision tree. However, classification of the other group, patients who should not receive PMRT treatment according to the guideline, resulted in a tree with nine leaves and three of them were representing non-compliance with the guideline. In a comparison between rules resulting from these three non-compliant patterns and manual inspection of patient records, the following was found:
In the decision tree, presence of perigland growth is the most important variable followed by number of malignantly invaded lymph nodes and level of Progesterone receptor. DNA index, age, size of the tumor and level of Estrogen receptor are also involved but with less importance. From manual inspection of the cases, the most frequent pattern for non-compliance is age above the threshold followed by near cut-off values for risk factors and unknown reasons.
Comparison of patterns of non-compliance acquired from data mining and manual inspection of patient records demonstrates that not all of the non-compliances are repetitive or important. There are some overlaps between important variables acquired from manual inspection of patient records and data mining but they are not identical. Data mining can highlight non-compliance patterns valuable for guideline authors and for medical audit. Improving guidelines by using feedback from data mining can improve the quality of care in oncology.
We aimed to evaluate retrospectively the correlation of loco-regional relapse (LRR) rate, distant metastasis (DM) rate, disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in a group of breast cancer (BC) patients who are at intermediate risk for LRR (T1-2 tumor and 1-3 positive axillary nodes) treated with or without postmastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) following modified radical mastectomy (MRM).
Ninety patients, with T1-T2 tumor, and 1-3 positive nodes who had undergone MRM received adjuvant systemic therapy with (n = 66) or without (n = 24) PMRT. Patient-related characteristics (age, menopausal status, pathological stage/tumor size, tumor location, histology, estrogen/progesterone receptor status, histological grade, nuclear grade, extracapsular extension, lymphatic, vascular and perineural invasion and ratio of involved nodes/dissected nodes) and treatment-related factors (PMRT, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy) were evaluated in terms of LRR and DM rate. The 5-year Kaplan-Meier DFS and OS rates were analysed.
Differences between RT and no-RT groups were statistically significant for all comparisons in favor of RT group except OS: LRR rate (3%vs 17%, p = 0.038), DM rate (12% vs 42%, p = 0.004), 5 year DFS (82.4% vs 52.4%, p = 0.034), 5 year OS (90,2% vs 61,9%, p = 0.087). In multivariate analysis DM and lymphatic invasion were independent poor prognostic factors for OS.
PMRT for T1-2, N1-3 positive BC patients has to be reconsidered according to the prognostic factors and the decision has to be made individually with the consideration of long-term morbidity and with the patient approval.
This study compared the clinical outcomes of T1-2N1 breast cancer patients with and without postmastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT). Risk factors for loco-regional recurrence (LRR) were identified in order to define a subgroup of patients who might benefit from PMRT.
Materials and Methods
Of 110 T1-2N1 breast cancer patients who underwent mastectomy from January 1994 through December 2009, 32 patients underwent PMRT and 78 patients did not. Treatment outcomes and risk factors for LRR were analyzed.
The 5- and 10-year LRR rates were both 6.2% in the PMRT group, and 10.4% and 14.6% in the no-PMRT group (p=0.336). In addition, no significant differences in distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) or overall survival (OS) were observed between patients receiving and not receiving PMRT. In multivariate analysis, factors associated with higher LRR rates included grade 3 disease, extracapsular extension (ECE), and triple negative subtype. Patients who had one or more risk factors for LRR were defined as a high-risk patient group. In the high-risk group, both 5- and 10-year LRR rates for patients who underwent PMRT was 18.2%, and LRR rates of 21.4% at five years and 36.6% at 10 years were observed for patients who did not undergo PMRT (p=0.069).
PMRT in T1-2N1 breast cancer patients should be considered according to several prognostic factors in addition to T and N stage. Findings of our study indicated that PMRT did not improve LRR, DMFS, or OS in T1-2N1 breast cancer patients. However, in a subgroup of patients with grade 3 disease, ECE, or triple negative subtype, PMRT might be beneficial.
Breast neoplasms; Radiotherapy; Mastectomy; Risk factor
Postmastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT) can reduce locoregional recurrences (LRR) in high-risk patients, but its role in the treatment of lymph node negative (LN−) breast cancer remains unclear. The aim of this study was to identify a subgroup of T1-T2 breast cancer patients with LN− who might benefit from PMRT.
Methods and Materials
We retrospectively reviewed 1,136 node-negative T1-T2 breast cancer cases treated with mastectomy without PMRT at the Massachusetts General Hospital between 1980 and 2004. We estimated cumulative incidence rates for LRR overall and in specific subgroups, and used Cox proportional hazards models to identify potential risk factors.
Median follow-up was 9 years. The 10-year cumulative incidence of LRR was 5.2% (95% CI: 3.9–6.7%). Chest wall was the most common (73%) site of LRR. Tumor size, margin, patient age, systemic therapy, and lymphovascular invasion (LVI) were significantly associated with LRR on multivariate analysis. These five variables were subsequently used as risk factors for stratified analysis. The 10-year cumulative incidence of LRR for patients with no risk factors was 2.0% (95% CI: 0.5–5.2%), whereas the incidence for patients with three or more risk factors was 19.7% (95% CI: 12.2–28.6%).
It has been suggested that patients with T1-T2N0 breast cancer who undergo mastectomy represent a favorable group for which PMRT renders little benefit. However, this study suggests that select patients with multiple risk factors including LVI, tumor size ≥2 cm, close or positive margin, age ≤50, and no systemic therapy are at higher risk of LRR and may benefit from PMRT.
Breast cancer; Mastectomy; Postmastectomy radiation; Risk factors; Locoregional recurrence
Immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy and delayed breast reconstruction with post-supplementary treatment are the two types of breast reconstruction currently performed when treating breast cancer. Post-mastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT) not only reduces local recurrence but also improves overall survival. However, the complications and survival rates associated with PMRT need to be clear when determining the timing of breast reconstruction. Accordingly, we investigated the optimal timing of breast reconstruction by observing patients who underwent mastectomy followed by PMRT, based on their overall health and aesthetic satisfaction.
We retrospectively reviewed 21 patients who underwent breast reconstruction with PMRT between November 2004 and November 2010. We collected data regarding the various methods of mastectomy, and the modality of adjuvant therapy, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiotherapy. Telephone interviews were conducted to study the general and aesthetic satisfaction.
Patients who received PMRT after breast reconstruction showed a greater complication rate than those undergoing breast reconstruction after PMRT (P=0.02). Aesthetic satisfaction was significantly higher in the groups undergoing breast reconstruction after PMRT (P=0.03). Patients who underwent breast reconstruction before PMRT developed complications more frequently, but they expressed greater aesthetic satisfaction with the treatment.
It is recommended that the complication rates and aesthetic satisfaction after breast reconstruction be carefully considered when determining the optimal timing for radiotherapy.
Breast; Mastectomy; Radiotherapy
At the first Austrian multidisciplinary expert panel on controversies in local treatment of breast cancer, 22 experts of all relevant disciplines discussed current areas of debate (surgery of the breast, surgery and pathology of the axilla, reconstructive surgery, radiotherapy, and imaging) in local therapy. The most controversial area of debate was the area of axillary surgery. The panel agreed that it was no longer necessary to perform completion axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) when micrometastases are diagnosed in the sentinel lymph node. The only prospective trial comparing patients with sentinel node macrometastases with or without completion ALND had to be terminated early due to failure in sufficient patient recruitment. As long as the frequently discussed issues have not been solved and in light of the lack of any clear level 1 evidence, the panel decided not to recommend omitting axillary dissection in patients with 1 or 2 macrometastases meeting the inclusion criteria of the ACOSOG Z0011 trial. The Austrian panel similarly decided not to recommend omitting axillary dissection in patients with macrometastases and low-risk breast cancer in general. These decisions reflect the increasing skepticism of the scientific community against rapidly shifting paradigms without sufficient and clear evidence.
Breast cancer: local therapy, surgery, radiotherapy; Expert panel
We examined rates and determinants of appropriate and inappropriate use of post-mastectomy radiation (PMRT), as defined by NCCN practice guidelines, among women with Stage I-II breast cancer (AJCC 5th Edition).
Using clinical characteristics, 1,620 consecutive patients at eight NCCN institutions who received mastectomy between 7/97–6/02 were classified into three cohorts according to whether guidelines (1) recommended PMRT, (2) recommended against PMRT, or (3) made no definitive PMRT recommendation. We defined the absence of PMRT in the first cohort as underuse, and receipt of PMRT in the second cohort as overuse. Multivariable logistic regression was applied to investigate the association of clinical and sociodemographic factors with PMRT.
Overall, 23.8% received PMRT. This included 83.6% (199/238) in the “recommend PMRT” cohort, 5.6% (58/1029) in the “recommend against PMRT” cohort, and 38.6% (127/329) in the “consider PMRT” cohort. The only factor associated with underuse in the “recommend PMRT” cohort was not receiving chemotherapy (OR=0.08, p<0.0001). In addition to tumor characteristics, factors associated with overuse in the “recommend against PMRT ” cohort included age<50 (OR=2.28, p=0.048), NCCN institution (OR=1.04–8.29, p=0.026), higher education (OR=1.25–9.01, p=0.001), and no reconstructive surgery (OR=2.44, p=0.019). Factors associated with PMRT in the “consider PMRT” cohort included NCCN institution (OR=3.8–9.01, p<0.0001), age<50 (OR=2.26, p=0.041) and tumor characteristics.
Concordance with definitive treatment guidelines was high. However, when current evidence does not support a definitive recommendation for PMRT, treatment decisions appear to be influenced not only by patient age and clinical characteristics, but also by institution-specific patterns of care.
Breast cancer; guideline adherence; mastectomy; quality of health care
OBJECTIVE: To review recent advances in radiation therapy in treatment of breast cancer. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: MEDLINE and CANCERLIT were searched using the MeSH words breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ, sentinel lymph node biopsy, and postmastectomy radiation. Randomized studies have shown the efficacy of radiation treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and for invasive breast cancer. MAIN MESSAGE: Lumpectomy followed by radiation is effective treatment for DCIS. In early breast cancer, shorter radiation schedules are as efficacious for local control and short-term cosmetic results as traditional fractionation regimens. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is done in specialized cancer centres; regional radiation is recommended for patients with four or more positive axillary lymph nodes. Postmastectomy radiation has been shown to have survival benefits for high-risk premenopausal patients. Systemic metastases from breast cancer usually respond satisfactorily to radiation. CONCLUSION: Radiation therapy continues to have an important role in treatment of breast cancer. There have been great advances in radiation therapy in the last decade, but they have raised controversy. Further studies are needed to address the controversies.
Recent developments in the management of breast cancer have increased the complexity of planning for immediate breast reconstruction. Two recent trials have demonstrated superior locoregional control, disease-free survival, and overall survival in node-positive breast cancer patients with the addition of postmastectomy radiation therapy (XRT) to mastectomy and chemotherapy. On the basis of these results, the use of postmastectomy XRT in patients with early-stage breast cancer is increasing. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict the presence or extent of axillary lymph node involvement—a major determinant of the need for postmastectomy XRT—before mastectomy. There are two potential problems with performing an immediate breast reconstruction in a patient who will require postmastectomy XRT. First, postmastectomy XRT can adversely affect the aesthetic outcome of an immediate breast reconstruction. Second, an immediate breast reconstruction can interfere with the delivery of postmastectomy XRT. Chemotherapy before or after reconstruction does not significantly increase the occurrence of wound-healing problems and breast reconstruction does not appear to delay the initiation or resumption of chemotherapy. The increasing use of postmastectomy XRT and chemotherapy in patients with early-stage breast cancer necessitates increased communication between the medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, breast surgeon, and plastic surgeon during treatment planning for these patients.
Breast reconstruction; radiation therapy; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; adjuvant chemotherapy; sentinel node biopsy
For patients with early breast cancer and lymph node metastasis, axillary treatment is widely recommended. This is either surgical removal of the axillary lymph nodes, or axillary radiotherapy. The rationale for axillary treatment is that it will reduce the risk of recurrence in the axilla, and may improve survival. However, both treatments are associated with adverse effects, such as lymphedema, pain and sensory loss, and are costly to the health services and to patients. With improvements in adjuvant therapy, routine axillary treatment may no longer offer any overall advantage.
To assess the short and long term benefits and adverse effects of routine axillary treatment (axillary lymph node clearance or axillary radiotherapy) for patients with lymph node positive early-stage breast cancer.
Criteria for potentially eligibility for the study will be that the participants are men and women with early breast cancer and lymph nodes with metastasis. The study compares either axillary treatment with no axillary treatment, or axillary node clearance with axillary radiotherapy, and the study is a randomized trial. Primary outcomes are axillary recurrence, disease-free and overall survival. Secondary outcomes include breast or chest wall recurrence, distant metastasis, time to axillary recurrence, axillary recurrence-free survival, arm morbidity, quality of life and health economic costs. The search strategy will include the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE and WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) search portal. Two independent reviewers will assess studies for inclusion in the review, assess study quality and extract data. Characteristics of included studies will be described. Meta-analysis will be conducted using ReVman software.
This review addresses an important clinical question, and results will inform clinical practice and health care policy.
To test the hypotheses that breast cancer patients with one to three positive lymph nodes (pN1) consist of heterogeneous prognostic subsets and that the ratio of positive nodes to total nodes dissected (lymph node ratio, LNR) might discriminate patients with a higher risk as candidates for post-mastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT).
Using information from 7741 node-positive patients, we first identified cutoff values of the LNR using the nonparametric bootstrap method. Focusing on 3477 patients with pN1 disease, we then evaluated the clinical relevance of the LNR categorised by the estimated cutoff values (categorised LNR, cLNR).
Among 3477 patients with pN1 disease, 3059 and 418 patients were assigned into the low and intermediate cLNR groups, respectively, based on a cutoff value of 0.18. The prognostic factors associated with poor overall survival (OS) included younger age, T2 stage, negative oestrogen/progesterone receptors, high histologic grade, and intermediate cLNR. Post-mastectomy radiation therapy significantly increased OS in patients assigned to the intermediate cLNR (hazard ratio, 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.17–0.89; P=0.0248), whereas patients in the low cLNR group derived no additional survival benefit from PMRT.
This study suggests that PMRT should be recommended for patients with pN1 disease and an intermediate cLNR.
breast neoplasms; lymph node ratio; pN1; prognostic factor; predictive factor; post-mastectomy radiation therapy
The purpose of the present study was to retrospectively evaluate the effects of extracapsular extension (ECE) on the benefits of post-mastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT) for groups of patients with varying numbers of positive axillary nodes (1–3, 4–9 and ≥10 positive axillary nodes). Methods: A total of 1220 axillary node-positive patients who had received mastectomy were involved in this study. Patients were grouped as ‘Radio + /ECE + ’, ‘Radio–/ECE + ’, ‘Radio + /ECE–’ or ‘Radio–/ECE–’ according to status of ECE and whether receiving PMRT or not, and were evaluated in terms of local region relapse (LRR) rate. The 5-year and 10-year Kaplan-Meier disease-free survival and overall survival (OS) rates were analyzed. Results: ECE-positive differed from ECE-negative groups with statistical significance for all comparisons in favor of the ECE-negative group: 5-year locoregional failure-free survival (LRFFS) (82.69% vs 91.83%, P < 0.001), 10-year LRFFS (75.39% vs 90.02%, P < 0.001); 5-year OS (52.12% vs 74.46%, P < 0.001), 10-year OS (35.17% vs 67.63%, P < 0.001). There were no significant effects of ECE on the benefits of PMRT for patients with 1–3 (P = 0.5720), ≥10(P = 0.0614) positive axillary nodes. However, for the group of patients with 4–9 positive axillary nodes, ECE status had a significant effect on the benefits of PMRT with respect to 5-year and 10-year LRFFS (P < 0.05). Conclusion: In our study, regardless of the ECE status, PMRT didn't significantly improve the LRFFS for patients with 1–3 or ≥10 positive axillary nodes. However, for patients with 4–9 positive axillary nodes, ECE could be an important criterion to consider when deciding whether to receive PMRT.
breast neoplasms; ECE; PMRT; prognosis
The Z11 trial demonstrated a subgroup of patients with low axillary burden who do not benefit from axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) at short-term follow-up when treated with adjuvant whole-breast radiotherapy and systemic therapy. We consider the role of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) and look at and beyond the Z11 trial to consider further imaging studies, which may offer truly minimally invasive management of the axilla and relegate SLNB to the realms of history.
Regional lymph node status provides information regarding staging, local control, and prognostic outcomes in all cancers. This information was provided in breast cancer by axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). This changed with the development of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) [1, 2]. Sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) are defined as the first lymph nodes receiving lymphatic drainage from the primary tumour and therefore the most likely to harbour metastatic cancer via lymphatic spread. SLNB is now the standard of care in patients with a clinically and radiologically clear axilla in early-stage breast cancer.
sentinel lymph node biopsy; axillary lymph node dissection; magnetic resonance imaging; ultrasmall paramagnetic iron oxide
At the moment, positive sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) of the axilla is followed by axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) as standard of care. Recent data proves that omitting ALND after positive SLND in clinically lymph node-negative early stage breast cancer patients is feasible with low recurrence rates. The well known effect of radiotherapy to destroy occult tumor cells highly contributes to these results as a large extent of level I and II lymph nodes are unavoidably included in standard tangential radiation treatment fields. Reviewing the up to date published data on axillary lymph node treatment with radiotherapy, we hypothesize that full dosage coverage of level I and II of the axilla in early stage breast cancer will improve outcome and should be further evaluated.
Adjuvant treatment; Breast cancer; Curative radiotherapy; Sentinel lymph node
Androgen suppression treatment (AST) might increase the risk of cardiac morbidity in prostate cancer patients. Possible explanations were provided, however, they disregard the potential contribution of prophylactic radiotherapy to the mamillary regions (PMRT, prescribed to avoid gynecomastia).
We studied the exposure of the heart in a typical electron beam PMRT setting by evaluating computed tomography (CT) scans in 40 non-cancer patients (age 65 and 75 years in 50% each) and 17 prostate cancer patients. Five of the younger, 7 of the older and 4 of the cancer patients had significant cardiac disease.
The median distance between skin and outer heart contour decreased with age. In all three groups, patients with cardiac morbidity had smaller distances. When using the CT-determined PMRT beam energy, 10% of the younger, 15% of the older and none of the prostate cancer patients would receive approximately 50% of the prescription dose to a part of the heart (2 had no history of cardiac disease). When using the clinically rather than CT-determined beam energy, as often done in daily practice, an additional 12.5% of the non-cancer and 12% of the prostate cancer patients would be exposed to comparably high doses.
The present data provide preliminary evidence that PMRT might be a factor that contributes to cardiac side effects. Previous studies that established a relationship between AST and cardiac morbidity did not include information on delivery of PMRT.
To assess whether trastuzumab (H) with radiotherapy (RT) increases adverse events (AEs) after breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy.
Patients and Methods
Patients with early-stage resected human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) –positive breast cancer (BC) were randomly assigned to doxorubicin (A) and cyclophosphamide (C), followed by weekly paclitaxel (T; AC-T-H or AC-TH-H). RT criteria (with or without nodal RT) were postlumpectomy breast or (optional) postmastectomy chest wall. RT of internal mammary nodes was prohibited. RT commenced within 5 weeks after T, concurrently with H. Analysis included 1,503 irradiated patients for RT-associated AEs across treatment arms. Rates of cardiac events (CEs) with and without RT were compared within arms.
No significant differences among arms were found in incidence of acute skin reaction, pneumonitis, dyspnea, cough, dysphagia, or neutropenia. A significant difference occurred in incidence of leukopenia, with higher rates for AC-T-H versus AC-T (odds ratio = 1.89; 95% CI, 1.25 to 2.88). At a median follow-up of 3.7 years (range, 0 to 6.5 years), RT with H did not increase relative frequency of CEs regardless of treatment side. The cumulative incidence of CEs with AC-T-H was 2.7% with or without RT. With AC-TH-H, the cumulative incidence was 1.7% v 5.9% with or without RT, respectively.
Concurrent adjuvant RT and H for early-stage BC was not associated with increased acute AEs. Further follow-up is required to assess late AEs.
Conventional post-mastectomy radiation therapy is delivered with tangential fields for chest wall and separate fields for regional nodes. Although chest wall and regional nodes delineation has been discussed with RTOG contouring atlas, CT-based planning to treat chest wall and regional nodes as a whole target has not been widely accepted. We herein discuss the dosimetric characteristics of a linac IMRT technique for treating chest wall and regional nodes as a whole PTV after modified radical mastectomy, and observe acute toxicities following irradiation.
Patients indicated for PMRT were eligible. Chest wall and supra/infraclavicular region +/−internal mammary nodes were contoured as a whole PTV on planning CT. A simplified linac IMRT plan was designed using either integrated full beams or two segments of half beams split at caudal edge of clavicle head. DVHs were used to evaluate plans. The acute toxicities were followed up regularly.
Totally, 85 patients were enrolled. Of these, 45 had left-sided lesions, and 35 received IMN irradiation. Planning designs yielded 55 integrated and 30 segmented plans, with median number of beams of 8 (6–12). The integrated and segmented plans had similar conformity (1.41±0.14 vs. 1.47±0.15, p=0.053) and homogeneity indexes (0.13±0.01 vs. 0.14±0.02, p=0.069). The percent volume of PTV receiving >110% prescription dose was <5%. As compared to segmented plans, integrated plans typically increased V5 of ipsilateral lung (p=0.005), and heart (p=0.001) in patients with left-sided lesions. Similarly, integrated plans had higher spinal cord Dmax (p=0.009), ipsilateral humeral head (p<0.001), and contralateral lung Dmean (p=0.019). During follow-up, 36 (42%) were identified to have ≥ grade 2 radiation dermatitis (RD). Of these, 35 developed moist desquamation. The median time to onset of moist desquamation was 6 (4–7) weeks from start of RT. The sites of moist desquamation were most frequently occurred in anterior axillary fold (32/35), and secondly chest wall (12/35). The difference in occurrence of ≥ grade 2 RD between integrated and segmented plans was statistically insignificant (X2=0.35, p=0.55). Only 2 were found to have grade 2 radiation pneumonitis.
The linac IMRT technique applied in PMRT with chest wall and regional nodes as a whole PTV was dosimetrically feasible, and the treatment was proved to be well-tolerated by most patients.
Breast cancer; Modified radical mastectomy; Intensity modulation; Dosimetry; Acute toxicity
One of the most exciting and talked about new surgical techniques in breast cancer surgery is the sentinel lymph node biopsy. It is an alternative procedure to standard axillary lymph node dissection, which makes possible less invasive surgery and side effects for patients with early breast cancer that wouldn't benefit further from axillary lymph node clearance. Sentinel lymph node biopsy helps to accurately evaluate the status of the axilla and the extent of disease, but also determines appropriate adjuvant treatment and long-term follow-up. However, like all surgical procedures, the sentinel lymph node biopsy is not appropriate for each and every patient.
In this article we review the absolute and relative contraindications of the procedure in respect to clinically positive axilla, neoadjuvant therapy, tumor size, multicentric and multifocal disease, in situ carcinoma, pregnancy, age, body-mass index, allergies to dye and/or radio colloid and prior breast and/or axillary surgery.
Certain conditions involving host factors and tumor biologic characteristics may have a negative impact on the success rate and accuracy of the procedure. The overall fraction of patients unsuitable or with multiple risk factors that may compromise the success of the sentinel lymph node biopsy, is very small. Nevertheless, these patients need to be successfully identified, appropriately advised and cautioned, and so do the surgeons that perform the procedure.
When performed by an experienced multi-disciplinary team, the SLNB is a highly effective and accurate alternative to standard level I and II axillary clearance in the vast majority of patients with early breast cancer.
This study evaluated the treatment results and the necessity to irradiate the supraclavicular lymph node (SCN) region in pathological N0-N1 (pN0-N1) patients with locally advanced breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) followed by surgery and radiotherapy (RT).
Between 1996 and 2008, 184 patients with initial tumor size >5 cm or clinically positive lymph nodes were treated with NAC followed by surgery and RT. Among these patients, we retrospectively reviewed 98 patients with pN0-N1. Mastectomy was performed in 55%. The pathological lymph node stage was N0 in 49% and N1 in 51%. All patients received adjuvant RT to chest wall or breast and 56 patients (57%) also received RT to the SCN region (SCNRT).
At 5 years, locoregional recurrence (LRR)-free survival, distant metastasis-free survival, disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival rates were 93%, 83%, 81%, and 91%, respectively. In pN0 patients, LRR was 7% in SCNRT- group and 5% in SCNRT+ group. In pN1 patients, LRR was 7% in SCNRT- group and 6% in SCNRT+ group. There was no significant difference of LRR, regardless of SCNRT. However, in pN1 patients, there were more patients with poor prognostic factors in the SCNRT+ group compared to SCNRT- group. These factors might be associated with worse DFS in the SCNRT+ group, even though RT was administered to the SCN region.
Our study showed the similar LRR, regardless of SCNRT in pN0-pN1 breast cancer patients after NAC followed by surgery. Prospective randomized trial is called for to validate the role of SCNRT.
Adjuvant radiotherapy; Breast neoplasms; Lymphatic irradiation; Neoadjuvant therapy
To provide information and recommendations to assist women with breast cancer and their physicians in making decisions regarding the use of locoregional post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT).
Locoregional control, disease-free survival, overall survival and treatment-related toxicities.
This guideline is based on a review of all meta-analyses, consensus statements and other guidelines published between 1966 and November 2002. Searches of MEDLINE and CANCERLIT for English-language randomized controlled trials published between 1995 and November 2002 were also conducted to supplement the literature previously reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Health Services Research Committee panel in its published guideline. A nonsystematic review of the literature was continued through June 2003.
RecommendationsLocoregional PMRT is recommended for women with an advanced primary tumour (tumour size 5 cm or greater, or tumour invasion of the skin, pectoral muscle or chest wall).Locoregional PMRT is recommended for women with 4 or more positive axillary lymph nodes.The role of PMRT in women with 1 to 3 positive axillary lymph nodes is unclear. These women should be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of PMRT.Locoregional PMRT is generally not recommended for women who have tumours that are less than 5 cm in diameter and who have negative axillary nodes.Other patient, tumour and treatment characteristics, including age, histologic grade, lymphovascular invasion, hormone receptor status, number of axillary nodes removed, axillary extracapsular extension and surgical margin status, may affect locoregional control, but their use in specifying additional indications for PMRT is currently unclear.PMRT should encompass the chest wall and the supraclavicular, infraclavicular and axillary apical lymph node areas.To reduce the risk of lymphedema, radiation of the entire axilla should not be used routinely after complete axillary dissection of level I and II lymph nodes.A definite recommendation regarding the inclusion of the internal mammary lymph nodes in PMRT cannot be made because of limited and inconsistent data.The use of modern techniques in radiotherapy planning is recommended to minimize excessive normal tissue exposure, particularly to the cardiac and pulmonary structures.Common short-term side effects of PMRT, including fatigue and skin erythema, are generally tolerable and not dose-limiting. Severe long-term side effects, including lymphedema, cardiac and pulmonary toxicities, brachial plexopathy, rib fractures and secondary neoplasms, are relatively rare.The optimal sequencing of PMRT and systemic therapy is currently unclear. Regimens containing anthracyclines or taxanes should not be administered concurrently with radiotherapy because of the potential for increased toxicity.
The authors' original text was submitted for review, revision and approval by the Steering Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer. Subsequently, feedback was provided by 11 oncologists from across Canada. The final document was approved by the steering committee.
The Steering Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer was convened by Health Canada.
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.
Seroma formation following modified radical mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection for breast cancer is a most common wound complication. In our experience seroma occurs in approximately 50% of patients undergoing mastectomy. Postmastectomy seromas usually vanishes within a few weeks after operation.
In this report we present the case of a 73 year old woman who had undergone mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection for breast cancer, complicated by lymphorrhea and formation fibrous encapsulated seroma resistant to conservative treatment which required surgical resection.
We stand in opinion that in some cases of prolonged seromatous effusion with confirmed formation of thick walled reservoir the operation with resection and closure of supplying regional lymph vessels may be the best treatment, if possible preceded by arm lymphoscyntygraphy.
Lymph node status is the most important prognostic indicator in breast cancer in recently diagnosed primary lesion. As a part of an interregional protocol using scintimammography with Tc99m compounds, the value of planar Tc99m sestamibi scanning for axillary lymph node evaluation is presented. Since there is a wide range of reported values, a standardized protocol of planar imaging was performed.
One hundred and forty-nine female patients were included prospectively from different regions. Their mean age was 55.1 ± 11.9 years. Histological report was obtained from 2.987 excised lymph nodes from 150 axillas. An early planar chest image was obtained at 10 min in all patients and a delayed one in 95 patients, all images performed with 740–925 MBq dose of Tc99m sestamibi. Blind lecture of all axillary regions was interpreted by 2 independent observers considering any well defined focal area of increased uptake as an involved axilla. Diagnostic values, 95% confidence intervals [CI] and also likelihood ratios (LR) were calculated.
Node histology demonstrated tumor involvement in 546 out of 2987 lymph nodes. Sestamibi was positive in 30 axillas (25 true-positive) and negative in 120 (only 55 true-negative). The sensitivity corresponded to 27.8% [CI = 18.9–38.2] and specificity to 91.7% [81.6–97.2]. The positive and negative LR were 3.33 and 0.79, respectively. There was no difference between early and delayed images. Sensitivity was higher in patients with palpable lesions.
This work confirmed that non tomographic Tc99m sestamibi scintimammography had a very low detection rate for axillary lymph node involvement and it should not be applied for clinical assessment of breast cancer.
This study evaluates the dose distribution of reversed planned tangential beam intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) compared to standard wedged tangential beam three-dimensionally planned conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) of the chest wall in unselected postmastectomy breast cancer patients
For 20 unselected subsequent postmastectomy breast cancer patients tangential beam IMRT and tangential beam 3D-CRT plans were generated for the radiotherapy of the chest wall. The prescribed dose was 50 Gy in 25 fractions. Dose-volume histograms were evaluated for the PTV and organs at risk. Parameters of the dose distribution were compared using the Wilcoxon matched pairs test.
Tangential beam IMRT statistically significantly reduced the ipsilateral mean lung dose by an average of 21% (1129 cGy versus 1437 cGy). In all patients treated on the left side, the heart volume encompassed by the 70% isodose line (V70%; 35 Gy) was reduced by an average of 43% (5.7% versus 10.6%), and the mean heart dose by an average of 20% (704 cGy versus 877 cGy). The PTV showed a significantly better conformity index with IMRT; the homogeneity index was not significantly different.
Tangential beam IMRT significantly reduced the dose-volume of the ipsilateral lung and heart in unselected postmastectomy breast cancer patients.
Despite the lack of randomised controlled trials and paucity of the published data, the current evidence suggests that the post-mastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT) does not represent a contraindication to skin-sparing mastectomy (SSM) and immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) in the multidisciplinary setting. Although PMRT is associated with a higher incidence of complications, a satisfactory cosmetic outcome can be achieved in most patients. Radiation has a deleterious effect on autologous flap reconstruction that relies on fat for volume replacement such as the deep inferior epi-gastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction and this method of reconstruction should be delayed until RT is completed. Until better methods of RT delivery are developed to minimise complications, women at high risk of requiring PMRT, can be safely offered SSM and IBR with a sub-pectoral saline-filled tissue expander and this can be replaced with a permanent prosthesis or converted into an autologous flap reconstruction after the completion of RT. Any capsule formation can be surgically treated at this stage. This new concept, known as immediate-delayed reconstruction, can avoid the cosmetic and RT delivery problems that can occur after IBR.
Furthermore, prior RT does not represent a contra-indication to SSM and IBR, however it increases the incidence of complications.