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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Risk factors of sentinel and non-sentinel lymph node metastases in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast: A nationwide study

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OBJECTIVES: Unexplained axillary metastases have been detected in some patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), possibly because of occult invasion or iatrogenic tumor cell displacement. The significance of these metastases is unknown and brings into questions the need for upstaging and axillary surgery. What are the risk factors for sentinel lymph node (SN) and non-SN metastases, including the risk of iatrogenic displacement of tumor cells in relation to an excisional biopsy, in patients diagnosed with DCIS?

METHODS: Nationwide data on 1787 women diagnosed with DCIS between 2001 and 2015 were retrieved from the Danish Breast Cancer Group database. The association of clinicopathological variables with a positive SN (isolated tumor cells (ITCs), micro- or macrometastases) was evaluated using univariate and multivariate analyses.

RESULTS: Of the 1787 patients, 71 (4.0%) had a positive SN: 15 (0.8%) had macrometastases, 42 (2.4%) had micrometastases, and 14 (0.8%) had ITCs. Five patients with a positive SN also had a positive non-SN. In adjusted analysis, a positive SN was associated with younger age (P = 0.036), increased size (P = 0.002), palpability (P = 0.0004) and surgical excisional biopsy (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The overall risk of a positive SN in patients with DCIS on final pathology is low and less than 9% of these patients had positive non-SNs. This argues against using axillary lymph node dissection in this group. The odds of positive SN after surgical excisional biopsies showed more than a four-fold increase, indicating iatrogenic tumor cell displacement. It is questioned whether these patients should be upstaged and classified as having invasive carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-132
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2018

ID: 55856338