Predictive Factors for Non-Sentinel Lymph Node Metastasis in the Case of Positive Sentinel Lymph Node Metastasis in Two or Fewer Nodes in Breast Cancer

Chie Toshikawa, Yu Koyama, Masayuki Nagahashi, Kumiko Tatsuda, Kazuki Moro, Junko Tsuchida, Miki Hasegawa, Toshiyuki Niwano, Naoko Manba, Mayuko Ikarashi, Hitoshi Kameyama, Takashi Kobayashi, Shin-ichi Kosugi, Toshifumi Wakai


Background: In breast cancer, recent clinical trials have shown that sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) alone without axillary lymph node dissection results in excellent prognosis if there is sentinel lymph node (SLN) metastasis in two or fewer nodes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between non-SLN metastasis and clinicopathological factors in case of SLN metastasis in two or fewer nodes in breast cancer.

Methods: Patients who underwent SLNB for invasive breast cancer and were found to have positive SLN in two or fewer nodes were evaluated. The associations between non-SLN metastasis and clinicopahological factors were examined. Statistical analyses were performed using the Mann-Whitney and Chi-square tests, with statistical significance set at P < 0.05.

Results: A total of 358 patients were enrolled during the study period and all of these patients were female and 54 patients had SLN metastasis (15%). Positive SLN in two or fewer nodes was identified in 44 patients (81.5%). Among these patients, 17 (38.6%) were found to have non-SLN metastasis. Non-SLN metastasis was associated with invasive tumor size (P = 0.015) and lymphatic involvement (P = 0.035). Multivariate analysis showed that tumor size (P = 0.011) and lymphatic involvement (P = 0.019) remained significant independent predictors of non-SLN metastasis, and that an invasive tumor size cut-off point of 28 mm was useful for dividing patients with positive SLN in two or fewer nodes into non-SLN-positive and non-SLN-negative groups.

Conclusions: Non-SLN metastasis was found in more than 30% of patients with SLN metastasis present in two or fewer nodes. Large tumor size and the presence of lymphatic involvement were significantly associated with non-SLN metastasis.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(8):620-626


Breast cancer; Sentinel lymph node; Non-sentinel lymph node; Metastasis; Lymphatic involvement; Invasive tumor size

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