Purpose: We conducted this study to investigate the prognosis and failure pattern after breast-conserving treatment (BCT) in patients with occult breast cancer (OBC) with negative breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (MRI-OBC). Materials and methods: Survival rates and failure patterns in 66 patients who received axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) and BCT for MRI-OBC between 2001 and 2013 at seven hospitals were analyzed. OBC was defined as adenocarcinoma in the axillary lymph node (ALN) +/− supraclavicular (SCN) or internal mammary lymph node (IMN) with a negative breast MRI. Results: Fifty-four patients had only ALN metastasis (ALN only), and 12 patients had ALN metastasis along with SCN or IMN metastasis (ALN + SCN/IMN). Median follow-up was 82 months. The 5-year overall, disease-free, and breast cancer-free survival rates were 93.4%, 92.1%, and 96.8%, respectively. Nine patients experienced recurrence: breast (n = 4), regional lymph nodes (RLN, n = 1), distant metastases (DM, n = 2), breast/RLN (n = 1), and breast/RLN/DM (n = 1). Five-year disease-free survival was significantly higher in ALN only patients compared to ALN + SCN/IMN patients (96.1% vs. 75.0%; p = 0.02). Conclusions: Patients with MRI-OBC were successfully treated with BCT. There was a small risk of ipsilateral breast cancer recurrence. Failure patterns depended on the extent of initial disease.
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