European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology, vol.47, no.10, pp.2506-2514, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI)
Purpose: Factors affecting local outcome were evaluated in patients with clinically node-positive (cN+) breast cancer at diagnosis, who underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) alone after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). Methods: Between 2004 and 2018, 303 cytopathology-proven cN (+) patients in a multicentric registry, who received NAC and underwent SLNB alone were analysed. All patients had regional nodal irradiation. Results: Median age was 46 (23-70). Of those, 211 patients had ypN0 disease (69.6%), whereas 92 pa-tients had ypN (+) disease including 19 (20.6%) isolated tumor cells (ITC), 33 micrometastases (35.9%) and 40 macrometastases (43.5%). At a median follow-up of 36 months (24-172), one patient (0.3%) with macrometastatic SLN was found to have locoregional recurrence as chest wall and supraclavicular LN metastases at the 60th month. Five-year disease-free survival (DFS) and disease specific survival (DSS) rates were 87% and 95%, respectively. Patients with cT3/4 (HR = 2.41, 95% CI; 1.14-5.07), non-luminal molecular pathology (HR = 2.60, 95% CI, 1.16-5.82), and non-pCR in the breast (HR = 2.11, 95% CI, 0.89-5.01) were found to have an increased HR compared to others in 5-year DFS. However, no dif-ference could be found between ypN0 and ypN ITC and micrometastasis (HR = 1.23, 95% CI, 0.44-3.47), whereas there was a slight increase in HR of patients with ypN macrometastasis versus ypN0 (HR = 1.91, 95% CI, 0.63-5.79). Conclusion: ALND could be avoided in meticulously selected cN (+) patients who underwent SLNB after NAC having breast and/or nodal pCR, cT1-2, or low volume residual nodal disease with luminal pa-thology, as long as axillary radiotherapy is provided. (c) 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd.