ABSTRACT: The prognosis of breast cancer is most heavily influenced by the status of the axillary nodes. Until a few years ago, this knowledge was gained through radical axillary lymph node clearance. In the meantime, sentinel lymph node clearance has become an established part of the surgical treatment of breast cancer. With the development of this procedure, the morbidity caused by axillary dissection has been reduced significantly. Although comprehensive prospective, randomised data regarding the safe use of the sentinel concept are only now available, the focus currently, however, is on the question of whether in the case of positive sentinel lymph nodes, an axillary dissection can be done away with altogether without having any negative impact on the risk of loco-regional recurrence or on progression-free survival and overall survival. The results of the American ACOSOG-Z001 study have changed the fundamental perspective of this. In this study on the advantages of axillary dissection following the confirmation of tumour tissue in the sentinel
lymph nodes, there were no statistically significant advantages from axillary dissection for women with a favourable overall risk profile who had received radiotherapy and systemic therapy. If this concept takes hold, the surgical treatment of node-positive breast cancer, at least in the axilla, would be reduced to aminimum, and the focus of treatment would in future lie more on the systemic treatment of this condition. As part of an interdisciplinary consensus meeting, a standardised approach for Austria with regard to this questionwas decided upon.
Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde 02/2012; 72(04-ISSN 0016‑5751):293-298. · 0.82 Impact Factor