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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-17

Complete axillary conversion after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer: A step towards conserving axilla?

1 Department of General Surgery, JIPMER, Pondicherry, India
2 Department of Pathology, JIPMER, Pondicherry, India
3 Department of Radio-diagnosis, JIPMER, Pondicherry, India
4 Department of Radiotherapy, JIPMER, Pondicherry, India

Correspondence Address:
D Kadambari
Department of General Surgery, JIPMER, Pondicherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 15105574

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OBJECTIVES : This study was designed to assess the clinical, sonographic and histopathological response of axillary lymph node metastasis to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced breast cancer. MATERIAL AND METHODS : Forty patients with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) with clinically palpable or sonographically detectable axillary nodes were studied. FNAC of the primary tumor and axillary nodes was done and patients were started on neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Axillary nodes were assessed clinically and sonographically for response after 3 cycles of chemotherapy. All patients underwent total mastectomy with axillary clearance and the lymph nodes in the specimen were examined for metastasis. RESULTS : 47% patients had complete clinical nodal response, while 19% showed complete sonographic response. Complete pathological nodal response was documented in 22% of patients. Ultrasonography was found to be more sensitive than clinical examination in assessing complete nodal response. 10% of the patients had complete pathological response of both primary tumor and axillary nodes. There was significant correlation between pathological response of primary tumor and lymph nodes (P=0.004). Patients with complete sonographic or clinical response were found to have no or minimal residual disease in axilla and hence axillary dissection may be avoided in them.


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