The Value of Ultrasound Diagnosed Axillary Lymph Node in Avoiding Axillary Surgery in Early Breast Cancer Patients
Background: Axillary lymph node dissection can be avoided in early stage breast cancer patients with negative sentinel lymph node biopsy. However, the possibility of avoiding axillary surgery in patients without axillary lymph node metastasis (ALNM) by preoperative imaging is still under exploration. Thus, the objectives of this study were to investigate the high-risk factors of false negative of ALNM diagnosed by preoperative ultrasound (US) and to find out who could be avoided axillary
... ded axillary surgery in the US negative ALNM patients.Methods: This study retrospectively analyzed 3,361 patients with primary early breast cancer diagnosed in the Breast Center of the Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University from January 2010 to December 2012. All patients had undergone routine preoperative US and then axillary lymph node dissected. This study investigated the clinicopathological features of axillary lymph node (ALN) negative patients diagnosed by preoperative US and its correlation with prognosis. The follow-up data for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were obtained from 2,357 patients. Results: The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of axillary US in this cohort were 66.24%, 76.62% and 73.87%. The proportion of patients in the false negative group was higher than that in true negative in the group of age < 50 years old (P = 0.002), tumor size > 2cm (P = 0.008), estrogen receptor (ER) positive (P = 0.005), progesterone receptor (PR) high expression (P = 0.007), nuclear-associated antigen Ki-67 (Ki-67) >20% (P = 0.030), visible vascular tumor thrombus (P < 0.001) and histological grade>2 (P < 0.001). Prognostic analysis of false negative and true negative ultrasonographic diagnosis of ALN metastasis: when ALNM was not found by preoperative ultrasound, there was no significant difference in patients with ALNM≤3 compared with patients without lymph node metastasis in patients of age ≥ 50 years old, tumor size ≤ 2cm, Ki-67 ≤ 20%, or histological grade ≤ 2. Conclusion: The surgery of ALN may be avoided for the preoperative US diagnosed ALNs negative in early breast cancer patients who had advanced age, small tumor size, low expression of Ki-67 and low histological grade.