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Adjuvant Therapy Indicated in Node-Positive Breast Cancer

-- Jeff Muise

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Adjuvant therapy can improve five-year survival in women whose breast cancer has favorable characteristics but who also have isolated tumor cells or micrometastases in regional lymph nodes, according to a study in the Aug. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Maaike de Boer, M.D., of Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues compared survival in three groups of breast cancer patients -- 856 patients who were node-negative and had not received adjuvant therapy; 856 patients with isolated nodal tumor cells or micrometastases who had not received adjuvant therapy; and 995 patients with isolated nodal tumor cells or micrometastases who had undergone adjuvant therapy.

After median 5.1 years of follow-up, the researchers found that the risk of disease events (such as recurrence or distant metastases) among women with isolated nodal tumors and no adjuvant therapy or micrometastases and no adjuvant therapy was higher than for women with node-negative disease and no adjuvant therapy (hazard ratios, 1.50 and 1.56, respectively). For those with nodal disease who received adjuvant therapy, the risk of disease events was significantly lower than for those who had nodal disease and no adjuvant therapy (hazard ratio, 0.57).

"Isolated tumor cells or micrometastases in regional lymph nodes were associated with a reduced five-year rate of disease-free survival among women with favorable early-stage breast cancer who did not receive adjuvant therapy. In patients with isolated tumor cells or micrometastases who received adjuvant therapy, disease-free survival was improved," the authors write.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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