, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 2172-2180
Date: 01 Mar 2014

Predictors and Outcomes of Completion Axillary Node Dissection Among Older Breast Cancer Patients

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Abstract

Background

The role of completion axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) for older women who had sentinel lymph node-positive (SLN+) invasive breast cancer is unclear. We examined factors predictive of ALND and the association between ALND, adjuvant chemotherapy administration, and survival.

Methods

Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database, we reviewed records of women age >65 diagnosed with stage I/II breast cancer from 1998–2005. Adjusted Cox proportional hazards and multivariate logistic regression were used to identify patient and disease variables associated with ALND, and assess association between ALND and all-cause and breast cancer-specific survival.

Results

Among SLN+ patients, 88 % underwent ALND. Earlier diagnosis year, greater nodal involvement, younger age, registry location, and larger tumor size were all associated with a significantly higher likelihood of ALND. The ALND in SLN+ patients was not significantly associated with 5-year breast cancer-specific survival (hazard ratio [HR] 1.22, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.76–1.96). The SLN+ patients who underwent ALND were more likely to receive adjuvant chemotherapy (odds ratio [OR] 1.8, 95 % CI 1.45–2.24). However, younger age (OR 18.0, 95 % CI 14.4–23.9), estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) status (OR 4.2, 95 % CI 3.4–5.3), and fewer comorbidities (OR 2.6, 95 % CI 1.7–4.0) were all more strongly linked to receipt of chemotherapy.

Conclusions

ALND for older patients with SLN+ breast cancer is not associated with improved 5-year all-cause or breast cancer-specific survival. Younger age, fewer comorbidities, and estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) status were more strongly associated with receipt of chemotherapy than ALND. Consideration should be given to omitting ALND in older patients, particularly if findings of ALND will not influence adjuvant therapy decisions.