Attualità in Senologia

Rassegna della letteratura: ottobre – dicembre 2019
Chirurgia, chirurgia plastica e radioterapia 

Jozsa F, Ahmed M, Baker R, Douek M. et AL – Is sentinel node biopsy necessary in the radiologically negative axilla in breast cancer? – Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2019 May 31.

Background: The steady move towards axillary conservatism in breast cancer is based on studies demonstrating that axillary node clearance affords no survival benefit in a subset of patients with a positive pre-operative axillary ultrasound (AUS). However, less attention has been paid to AUS-negative patients who receive sentinel node biopsy as standard.

Methods: Previously assembled systematic review data was reassessed to evaluate nodal burden amongst patients with breast cancer and a clinically and radiologically negative axilla.

Results: Pooled data from four cohort studies reporting pre-operative axillary ultrasound in 5139 patients with breast cancer show it has a negative predictive rate of 0.951 (95% confidence interval 0.941-0.960).

Conclusions: Reconsidering the use of ultrasound in patients with early breast cancer and non-palpable axillae reveals that sentinel node biopsy itself may represent surgical over-treatment in patients with a negative axillary ultrasound. The implications of this on the future of surgical management of the axilla are discussed


Park MW, Lee SU, Kwon S et AL – Comparison Between the Effectiveness of Complex Decongestive Therapy and Stellate Ganglion Block in Patients with Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema: A Randomized Controlled Study. – Pain Physician. 2019 May;22(3):255-263.

Background: Breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) of the upper extremities often follows breast cancer treatment. Although complex decongestive therapy (CDT) is currently the standard treatment for BCRL, stellate ganglion block (SGB) has also been reported to be effective. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of SGB in the treatment of BCRL, and to assess the impact of the treatment on the quality of life (QoL) compared to CDT.

Methods: A total of 38 patients with BCRL were recruited. Patients were randomly divided into 2 groups. Patients enrolled in the CDT group underwent 10 sessions of CDT for 2 weeks, whereas patients in the SGB group received 3 consecutive SGBs every 2 weeks. Changes in circumference, volume, and bioimpedance in the upper extremity were measured at baseline and 2 weeks after treatment and compared between the 2 groups. EuroQol-5 dimensions (EQ-5D) and EuroQol visual analog scale (EQ VAS) for QoL and subjective improvement were monitored.

Results: In both groups, side-to-side difference of circumference after the treatment was decreased significantly from baseline (P < 0.05), and side-to-side difference of volume was reduced significantly in the SGB group (P < 0.05). No statistically significant difference was noted in the treatment effect between the 2 groups. Results of the EQ-5D, EQ VAS, and questionnaires regarding subjective symptoms administered at baseline and 2 weeks after each intervention revealed no statistically significant difference in the treatment effects between CDT and SGB.

Conclusions: Further long-term follow-up studies with a greater number of patients that include analysis according to the severity and duration of symptoms are needed. The results of this study suggest that SGB is an effective treatment for BCRL and may be considered as an alternative to CDT.



Sekine C, Nakano S, Mibu A et AL – Breast cancer hormone receptor negativity, triple-negative type, mastectomy and not receiving adjuvant radiotherapy were associated with axillary recurrence after sentinel lymph node biopsy. – Asian J Surg. 2019 May 29. pii: S1015-9584(18)30808-X.

Background: Axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) can be avoided in selected patients with positive sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs). However, regional lymph node recurrence may occur after SLN biopsy (SLNB). This study aimed to identify the risk factors for axillary recurrence to ensure safe axillary surgery.

Methods: Between June 2004 and December 2017, a total of 1056 women underwent SLNB without ALND. Patient data were prospectively entered into the breast cancer database at Kawaguchi Municipal Medical Center. From October 2012, we did not perform ALND in patients with (a) 1 or 2 positive SLNs, (b) positive SLNs that were unmatted or did not show gross extra nodal extension, (c) a clinical tumor size ≤5 cm, and in (d) those who received adjuvant endocrine therapy or chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Subsequently, appropriate adjuvant systemic and/or radiation treatment was administered.

Results: Of the 1056 patients included, 996 had negative SLNs, 49 had positive SLNs, and 11 had undetectable SLNs. The identification rate for SLNs was 99.0%, and the median number of removed SLNs was 2. During the median 6.9-year follow-up period, 10 patients (1.0%) showed axillary recurrence without SLNs metastasis. Hormone receptor negativity (p < 0.01), triple-negative type (0.047), mastectomy (<0.01) and not receiving adjuvant radiotherapy (<0.01) were significantly related to axillary recurrence.

Conclusions: ALND can be safely avoided in selected patients with early breast cancer. Patients with hormone receptor-negative tumors, especially triple-negative breast cancer, patients who underwent mastectomy without ALND or those who did not receive adjuvant radiotherapy should be followed up carefully.


Khan RN, Parvaiz MA, Khan AI et AL – Invasive carcinoma in accessory axillary breast tissue: A case report. – Int J Surg Case Rep. 2019 May 28;59:152-155.

Background: Accessory or ectopic breast tissue is an aberration of normal breast development. It is known to be a rare entity present anywhere along the embryologic mammary streak or milk line but more common in axilla.

Methods: We report a case of 36 year old female with accessory breast carcinoma who presented with a progressive lump in her left axilla for 1 year. On examination a 2 cm solitary mass was palpable in axilla. Ultrasound confirmed a 19 mm mass with no other lesion in breast and axilla. Core biopsy showed invasive ductal carcinoma. She was discussed in multidisciplinary board meeting and was offered upfront surgery with excision of accessory breast tissue and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Axillary lymph node dissection was omitted following ACOSG Z0011 criteria. She was offered adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation post operatively along with endocrine treatment as she was hormone receptor positive.

Results: Accessory breast development is hormone dependent just like normal breast. Breast cancer in accessory breast tissue is very rare. The incidence is around 6%. Most common pathology is invasive ductal carcinoma (50-75%). The most common location is axilla (60-70%) although it can present in other less common locations like infra-mammary region (5-10%) and rarely in thighs, perineum, groin, and vulva.

Conclusions: Since accessory axillary breast tissue is out of the image of screening breast examination, it is necessary for the oncologists to be aware of this entity and associated pathologies. Their preventive excision in high risk women can also be considered.