(HealthDay News) — Women with breast cancer undergoing lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy (SNB) may now be less likely to then have completion axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), according to research published online March 25 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
The results of the analysis of data from 2.7 million breast cancer patients highlight a major change in breast cancer management as a result of recommendations from the American College of Surgeons. The recommendations are based on a study published more than four years ago, which found that most early-stage breast cancer patients with a tumor in their sentinel node didn’t benefit from ALND.
Specifically, the original study – published in 2010 – found that women who underwent ALND did not have lower rates of cancer recurrence or better five-year survival rates than those who did not undergo ALND but were closely monitored. This new study found that the proportion of early-stage breast cancer patients who underwent SNB alone rose from 23% in 2009 to 56% in 2011.
“As far as I know, our study is the first to show that the findings from the [2010 study] have changed clinical practice for breast cancer patients nationwide,” lead author Katharine Yao, MD, director of the Breast Surgical Program at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill., said in a journal news release.