Prognosis of patients with axillary lymph node metastases from occult breast cancer: Analysis of multicenter data

Haeyoung Kim, Won Park, Su Ssan Kim, Sung Ja Ahn, Yong Bae Kim, Tae Hyun Kim, Jin Hee Kim, Jin Hwa Choi, Hae Jin Park, Jee Suk Chang, Doo Ho Choi

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study was conducted to evaluate prognosis of patients with level I/II axillary lymph node metastases from occult breast cancer (OBC). Materials and Methods: Data of 53 patients with OBC who received axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) positive/negative (+/–) breast-conserving surgery between 2001 and 2013 were retrospectively collected at seven hospitals in Korea. The median number of positive lymph nodes (+LNs) was 2. Seventeen patients (32.1%) had >3 +LNs. A total of 48 patients (90.6%) received radiotherapy. Extents of radiotherapy were as follows: Whole-breast (WB; n = 11), regional lymph node (RLN; n = 2), and WB plus RLN (n = 35). Results: The median follow-up time was 85 months. Recurrence was found in four patients: Two in the breast, one in RLN, and one in the breast and RLN. The 5-year and 7-year disease-free survival (DFS) rates were 96.1% and 93.5%, respectively. Molecular subtype and receipt of breast radiotherapy were significantly associated with DFS. Patients with estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (ER-/PR-/HER2-) subtype had significantly lower 7-year DFS than those with non-ER-/PR-/HER2-tumor (76.9% vs. 100.0%; p = 0.03). Whole breast irradiation (WBI) was significantly associated with a higher 7-year DFS rate (94.7% for WBI group vs. 83.3% for non-WBI group; p = 0.01). Other factors including patient’s age, number of +LNs, taxane chemotherapy, and RLN irradiation were not associated with DFS. Conclusion: Patients with OBC achieved favorable outcome after ALND and breast-targeting treatment. Molecular subtype and receipt of WBI was significant factors for DFS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalRadiation Oncology Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Korean Society for Radiation Oncology.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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