Article posted in USA Today describes the result of a study on 5,200 Breast Cancer patients. The study examined the medical records of these patient who were suffering from Breast Cancer and had also experienced Breast-Conserving Surgery. It was found that tiny cancer cells in the sentinel lymph nodes detected with a diagnostic procedure called Immuno histochemical (IHC) staining had no effect on overall survival of the cancer patient.
During breast cancer surgery, the removal of large numbers of armpit lymph nodes can lead to a painful buildup of fluid called Lymphedema. Hence the study aimed to determine if presence of these cells in the lymph nodes was really harmful or not, so that lymph node removal could be prevented as part of the surgical treatment.
Here are some highlights of a research by Dr. Armando Giuliano, chief of surgical oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, in regards to the removal of lymph nodes in breast cancer surgery
- The data for this study was taken from the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group in which the study was conducted previously at 126 sites from May 1999 to May 2003 and all patients were followed until April 2010
- After 6.3 years of follow up, it was found that 435 women had died and 376 experienced recurrence of their cancer
- Five year over-all survival rates, based on IHC staining were as follows:
- Among women, whose sample tested positive for lymph node involvement the survival was 95.1 percent, and the disease free survival rate in this group, was 90.4 percent.
- Among women, whose lymph node biopsies tested negative, was 95.7 percent, and disease free survival rate for these women was 92.2 percent.
- As can be clearly seen from the numbers above, the difference between the two groups in terms of survival rate (95.1% vs 95.7%) is not no statistically significant (simply put, a away to show that the difference is
What this means is that when adopted clinically, breast cancer patients with microscopic metastases in their SLN biopsies will not have to go for more aggressive treatments, which were thought to increase survival rates.
According to Dr. Lora Weiselberg, chief of breast cancer service at the Monter Cancer Center of North Shore-LIJ Health System in Lake Success, N.Y., many physicians have argued the significance of the SLN biopsies evaluated in the study. In certain cases, it would be done but many pathology laboratories should stop doing unnecessary tests as they add unnecessary cost to the patients.
This study was published in the Journal of the Medical Association on July 27.
Listed below are some clinical trials for Breast Cancer
- Axillary Lymph Node Removal or Not? New Breast Cancer Findings Disrupt Current Medical Practice and Thought
- Advanced Breast Cancer: overview and clinical trials
- Lung Cancer death rates for women
- Breast Cancer Awareness and India: Part 2 on My Mothers Valiant Fight Against Breast Cancer
- Breast Cancer In Males – Case of Bob Riter and Awareness of Research, Diagnosis And Treatment