Axillary Dissection Based on the Histological Result of the Sentinel Node, in Patients With Breast Carcinoma

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00970983
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 3, 2009
Last Update Posted : November 29, 2011
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
European Institute of Oncology

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the disease free and overall survival of patients with breast carcinomas of small size, i.e., not greater than 2.0 cm and with clinically non palpable axillary lymph nodes, undergoing either conservative surgery and axillary dissection, or a similar treatment for the primary tumor and rapid analysis of the sentinel lymph node, the result of which determines axillary node dissection or its avoidance is based.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Breast Carcinoma Procedure: quadrantectomy and axillary dissection Procedure: quadrantectomy + sentinel node biopsy Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The axillary lymph nodes represent the most frequent site of metastasis from breast carcinoma. In previous studies, it has been shown that the process of metastasis to the axillary nodes proceeds in an orderly and progressive fashion from the I to the II and to the III level and that a "saltatory" event of metastasis represents a rare event described in only 2% to 6% of cases.

The risk of metastasis is directly correlated with the size of the primary tumor. When smaller than 1 cm in diameter, the risk of metastasis is about 10%; when larger than 5 cm in diameter, the risk increases to more than 70%.

The involvement of axillary lymph nodes by metastases constitutes today the most important prognostic factor in breast cancer. Massive invasion is most certainly associated with a poor outcome and therefore, the information that the lymph node status can provide, is indispensible for administration of appropriate therapies in the postoperative period. Nevertheless, in those cases where the lymph nodes are found to be free of metastases, axillary dissection is a useless treatment that can prove harmful if one considers all the possible short and long term complications.

Presently, there are no diagnostic modalities that are able to provide an accurate lymph node staging preoperatively. This information can only be gained by histologic examination of all lymph nodes after complete axillary dissection.

Standard treatment for operable breast cancer today always involves the dissection of the axillary lymph nodes, regardless of the surgical procedure used for resection of the primary tumor, i.e. conservative or demolitive. This not only results in a large expenditure of resources (longer surgical procedures under general anesthesia), but most notably, in an increased risk of complications (lymphedema and functional limitations of the involved extremity) for the patient, secondary to a more aggressive intervention on the axilla.

A method utilizing preoperative lymphoscintigraphy and intraoperative use of a gamma-ray probe in order to evaluate the possibility of metastasis in the first axillary lymph node, i.e. the "sentinel node", has recently been put into practice at our institute. This method, which in its first part consists in the subcutaneous or peritumoral administration of a radiolabeled (99Tc) human albumin colloid (see methods section), has allowed isolation and excision of the sentinel lymph node with the use of the gamma-ray probe in 98.8% of cases.

In the case that this procedure should prove highly predictable of patient outcome, numerous axillary lymphadenectomies could be avoided and with such, numerous complications associated with such aggressive intervention.

A first phase study has evaluated 238 patients with breast carcinoma that would be candidates for complete axillary dissection. Patients with intraductal carcinoma, those candidates for primary chemotherapy, those diagnosed during pregnancy or lactation, and those with tumors less than 1 cm in size (because of inclusion in the randomized trial (053) evaluating the role of radiotherapy on the axilla in patients undergoing conservative surgery without axillary node dissection) were excluded from the study. The results of this first phase have shown a concordance in the histologic findings between the sentinel lymph node and all remaining axillary lymph nodes, subdivided into three levels, in 96.7% of cases. Furthermore, concordance was 100% in 18 patients with breast carcinoma of a size equal or less than 1.0 cm.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 532 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Axillary Dissection "by Principle" and Axillary Dissection Based on the Histological Result of the Sentinel Node, in Patients With Breast Carcinoma of Small Size
Study Start Date : March 1998
Actual Primary Completion Date : September 2009
Actual Study Completion Date : April 2010

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Breast Cancer
U.S. FDA Resources

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: QUART
Patients in this arm will receive quadrantectomy, axillary dissection and radiotherapy (the current standard therapy).
Procedure: quadrantectomy and axillary dissection
standard quadrantectomy and axillary dissection
Experimental: QURT (SN-)
Patients will receive quadrantectomy, sentinel node investigation and radiotherapy. Selective axillary dissection will be performed if sentinel node is positive.
Procedure: quadrantectomy + sentinel node biopsy
standard quadrantectomy and selective axillary dissection only if sentinel node biopsy is positive

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. disease free survival, overall survival [ Time Frame: every 6 months for the first 5 years and every 8 months afterwards ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. number of axillary metastases [ Time Frame: every 6 months for the first 5 years and every 8 months afterwards ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   40 Years to 75 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age between 40 and 75 years.
  • Clinical, mammographic or ultrasonographic diagnosis of a unicentric carcinoma with an ultrasonographic diameter of equal or less than 2.0 cm.
  • Although not a factor of exclusion, a breast scintigraphy using MDP-99m is recommended for accurate determination of possible multifocality or multicentricity of the tumor, as well as for the determination of possible bone metastasis.
  • Axillary lymph nodes that cannot be palpated or that are not clinically suspicious for metastasis.
  • No previously executed therapy (including biopsy) at any outside institution.
  • Those patients with nonpalpable lesions will be subjected to preoperative radioactive occult lesion localization (ROLL) or stereotactic biopsy.
  • Adequate patient information and signature of the informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Lesions diagnosed as non-infiltrating (in-situ) ductal or lobular carcinoma.
  • Paget's disease.
  • Documented multicentricity and/or abundant multifocality of the neoplasm.
  • Clinically metastatic lymph nodes.
  • Patients previously biopsied at other institutions.
  • Carcinomas detected during pregnancy or lactation.
  • Histotypes diverse from breast carcinoma lesions.
  • History of previous malignancy (excluding basocellular carcinoma, in-situ cervical carcinoma and/or contralateral breast carcinoma without recurrence for at least 15 years of follow-up).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00970983

European Institute of Oncology
Milano, Italy, 20141
Sponsors and Collaborators
European Institute of Oncology
Study Director: Umberto Veronesi, MD European Institute of Oncology

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: European Institute of Oncology Identifier: NCT00970983     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: IEO 185
First Posted: September 3, 2009    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: November 29, 2011
Last Verified: November 2011

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Breast Neoplasms
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Neoplasms by Site
Breast Diseases
Skin Diseases