Investigators Look Into 10-Year Outcomes in Women With Breast Cancer With Axillary Metastases and Pathologic Complete Response Following Primary Systemic Chemotherapy

In a retrospective analysis, investigators sought to examine the long-term affect of axillary pathologic complete response (pCR) on both relapse-free and overall survival in women who were given neoadjuvant chemotherapy in a large comprehensive cancer center in the United States. Researchers included 1600 women who were diagnosed with stage II to III breast cancer who had cytologically confirmed axillary metastases between 1989 and 2007 and were given primary systemic chemotherapy (PST) that their institution. The primary outcome measures were relapse-free and overall survival.

Approximately 28% of the patients met axillary pCR, and they had a greater likelihood of having HER2-positive and triple-negative disease, high-grade tumors, and lower clinical pathologic T stage. For patients with axillary pCR and residual axillary disease, the 10-year rates of overall survival were 84% and 57% (P<.001) and 10-year rates of relapse-free survival were 79% and 50% (P<.001), respectively. Ten-year overall survival rates for those with axillary pCR were 90% for patients with breast pCR and 72% for patients with residual breast disease (P<.001). Ten-year overall survival rates for those with breast pCR were 66% and 56% for those without breast pCR (P=.02). In patients who were given HER2-targeted therapy with HER2-positive breast cancer, 100 of 149 patients met axillary pCR, with the 10-year overall survival rates in patients with axillary pCR vs residual axillary disease being 92% and 57% (P=.006) and 10-year relapse-free survival rates being 89% and 44% (P<.001), respectively.


Mougalian SS, Hernandez M, Lei X, et al. Ten-Year Outcomes of Patients With Breast Cancer With Cytologically Confirmed Axillary Lymph Node Metastases and Pathologic Complete Response After Primary Systemic Chemotherapy. JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(4):508-516. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.4935

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