• Journal Article

Sentinel lymph node dissection only versus complete axillary lymph node dissection in early invasive breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Citation

Glechner, A., Wockel, A., Gartlehner, G., Thaler, K., Strobelberger, M., Griebler, U., & Kreienberg, R. (2013). Sentinel lymph node dissection only versus complete axillary lymph node dissection in early invasive breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Cancer, 49(4), 812-825. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2012.09.010

Abstract

Background: The Z0011-study, a landmark randomised controlled trial (RCT) challenged the benefits of complete axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) compared with sentinel lymph node dissection only (SLND) in breast cancer patients with positive sentinel nodes. The study, however, has been criticised for lack of power and low applicability. The aim of this review was to systematically assess the evidence on the comparative benefits and harms of ALND versus SLND for sentinel node positive breast cancer patients. Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and reference lists of pertinent review articles from January 2006 to August 2011. We dually reviewed the literature and rated the risk of bias of each study. For effectiveness, we included RCTs and observational studies of at least 1 year follow-up. In addition, we considered studies conducted in sentinel node-negative women to assess the risk of harms. If data were sufficient, we conducted random effects meta-analysis of outcomes of interest. Results: Meta-analysis of three studies with 50,120 patients indicated similar 5-year survival and regional recurrence rates between patients treated with ALND or SLND, although prognostic tumour characteristics varied among the 3 study-populations. Results from 6 studies on more than 11,500 patients reported a higher risk for harms for ALND than SLND. Long-term evidence on pertinent health outcomes is missing. Conclusion: The available evidence indicates that for some women with early invasive breast cancer SLND appears to be a justifiable alternative to ALND. Surgeons need to discuss advantages and disadvantages of both approaches with their patients. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved