Studies on Prediction of Axillary Lymph Node Status in Invasive Breast Cancer

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among females in Sweden. Axillary lymph-node dissection is a standard procedure in the management of breast cancer, aiming at obtaining prognostic information for adjuvant therapy decisions. Axillary dissection entails considerable morbidity. The aims of this study were to establish more selective surgical approaches and to investigate angiogenesis, a potential predictor for lymph-node metastases and prognosis.Clinical nodal status, tumour size and S-phase were associated with nodal metastases in cohort of 1145 women. The proportion of nodal metastases was 13% in the subgroup with the lowest risk.In a study from two registries, 675 and 1035 breast cancers ?10 mm diagnosed by screening mammography had nodal metastases in 6,5% and 7%, respectively. Clinically detected cancers had a risk of 16% and 14%, respectively.In a study on 415 women, a 5-node biopsy of the axilla had a sensitivity of 97,3% and a false negative rate of 2,7% in comparison with axillary dissection.Six sections from 21 breast cancers were analysed for microvessel density (MVD). The inter-section variation contributed more to the total variance than inter-tumour variation, 45,0% and 37,3%, respectively.In a cohort of 315 women, breast cancers with high MVD more frequently had p53 mutations (27,1%) compared with cases with low MVD (18,4%). This difference was not statistically significant (p=0,075). p53 mutations were associated with a worse outcome, whereas MVD was not.In conclusion, women with screening detected ?10 mm breast cancers have a low risk of lymph node metastases and some may not need axillary dissection in the future. The 5-node biopsy could be an alternative to axillary dissection. MVD is associated with methodological weaknesses and routine use is not recommended.