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Node-negative patients have better prognosis than those with lymph node micrometastases

-- Jeff Muise

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 (Last Updated: 05/13/2010)

WEDNESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients with micrometastases in their lymph nodes have a worse prognosis than node-negative patients, and may be more similar in prognosis to patients with macrometastases, according to research published online May 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Yvette Andersson, M.D., of Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues categorized 3,369 breast cancer patients by lymph node status. Each of the patients was placed in one of four groups: node negative, isolated tumor cells, micrometastases, and macrometastases. The researchers followed the groups for a median 52 months.

The researchers found that both five-year cause-specific and event-free survival rates were lower for patients with micrometastases than for patients who were node-negative (94.1 versus 96.9 percent for cause-specific survival and 79.6 versus 87.1 percent for event-free survival).

"In conclusion, this study demonstrates a similar prognosis in patients with micrometastatic and macrometastatic disease, indicating that patients with micrometastases should be offered the same adjuvant treatment. This hypothesis should be tested in a randomized clinical trial," the authors write.

Abstract
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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health
Pathology

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