In a nutshell
This study compared long-term survival following breast conserving surgery or mastectomy in patients with T1-2N2 breast cancer. The authors concluded that breast conserving surgery plus radiation was as effective as mastectomy and radiation in these patients.
Breast cancer is staged depending on the severity and extent of the cancer. The T stage categorizes the tumor by size: T1 describes tumors that are 0-2 cm in size; T2 describes tumors that are 2-5 cm in size. The N stage categorizes the spread of cancer cells to the lymph nodes. If the lymph nodes are not involved, the patient is N0. Cancer that has spread to a lymph node but is not in the surrounding tissue in N1. Cancer that has spread to the surrounding tissue is N2.
Breast conserving surgery (removing just the tumor) combined with radiation (BCT) has been shown to be as effective as mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) with radiation in patients with N0-N1 cancer. It is not clear whether it is as effective in patients with N2 disease.
Methods & findings
The current study compared BCT and mastectomy plus radiation in patients with T1-2/N2 breast cancer. The records of 3071 patients were examined. 34.4% underwent BCT. 65.7% underwent mastectomy plus radiation. Patients were followed for an average of 10.5 years.
Overall, the 10-year survival rate was the same for patients who underwent BCT or mastectomy.
Patients with T2N2 disease had an 18% decreased risk of 10-year mortality risk with BCT compared to mastectomy. There was no difference in patients with T1N2 disease.
Time until disease metastasis (spread) was examined in 594 patients. There was no significant difference between treatments.
The bottom line
This study concluded that BCT is as effective as MAST in patients with T1-2N2 breast cancer. The authors suggest that BCT is a good treatment option for these patients.
Published By :
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Oct 11, 2016
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