[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction. There has been recent interest in validity of completion axillary node dissection after a positive sentinel node. This systematic review aims to ascertain if sentinel lymph node dissection alone was noninferior to axillary lymph node dissection for breast cancer patients who have a positive sentinel node. Method. A systematic review of the electronic databases Embase, MEDLINE, and Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials was carried out. Only randomised trials that had patients with positive sentinel node as the study sample were included in the meta-analysis using the reported hazard ratios with a fixed effect model. Results. Three randomised controlled trials and five retrospective studies were identified. The pooled effect for overall survival was HR 0.94, 95% CI [0.79, 1.19], and for disease free survival was HR 0.83, 95% CI [0.60, 1.14]. The reported rates for locoregional recurrence were similar in both groups. The surgical morbidity was found to be significantly more in patients who had underwent axillary dissection. Conclusion. Amongst patients with micrometastasis in the sentinel node, no further axillary dissection is necessary. For patients with macrometastasis in the sentinel node, it is reasonable to consider omitting axillary dissection to avoid the morbidity of the procedure.
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