Factors Influencing Non-sentinel Lymph Node Involvement in Patients with Positive Sentinel Lymph Node(s) After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Stacy B. Sanders, Tanya L. Hoskin, Arielle P. Stafford, Judy C. Boughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: When a positive sentinel lymph node (SLN) is identified after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC), completion axillary lymph node dissection (cALND) is generally recommended. We sought to evaluate the rate of non-SLN positivity and factors influencing this in patients with a positive SLN following NAC. Methods: We identified all patients at our hospital between 2006 and 2021 with a positive SLN (> 0.2 mm) following NAC who underwent cALND. Rates of positive non-SLN (NSLN) on cALND were compared by nodal status. Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to assess factors predictive of positive NSLN and overall nodal burden. Results: Overall, 229 cases (177 cN+, 52 cN0 prior to NAC) with positive SLN(s) after NAC underwent cALND. Additional NSLN involvement was found in 129/229 (56.3%) patients, including 24/52 (46.2%) cN0 and 105/177 (59.3%) cN+ patients (p = 0.09). There was a trend for patients with SLN micrometastases to be less likely to have positive NSLN(s) than those with SLN macrometastases (38.5% vs. 58.6%; p = 0.05). Subgroup analyses showed no clinicopathologic factors significantly associated with additional axillary involvement for initially cN0 patients. Factors found to significantly influence NSLN positivity in the initially cN+ subgroup were HER2 status, multicentricity/multifocality, number of positive SLNs, and size of SLN metastasis. SLN metastasis size > 5 mm and three or more positive SLNs exerted the greatest influence on NSLN positivity. Conclusion: Rates of nodal positivity on cALND in the setting of positive SLN after NAC are high, supporting the current standard of routine cALND. In cN+ disease, NSLN positivity varies by tumor biology, multicentricity/multifocality, number of positive SLNs, and SLN metastasis size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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