Axillary Recurrence in DCIS: Is Axillary Lymphadenectomy Warranted?

Trisal, Vijay; Qian, Dajun; Wagman, Lawrence D.
October 2004
American Surgeon;Oct2004, Vol. 70 Issue 10, p876
Academic Journal
Widespread use of screening mammography has resulted in a remarkable increase in the incidence (or detection rate) of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Axillary lymph node involvement in DCIS is reported to occur at a frequency of 1-12 per cent. Over the past few years, however, there has been increasing emphasis on axillary sampling, limited axillary dissection, and the potential role of sentinel lymph node biopsy. The clinical relevance of axillary lymph node biopsy or dissection remains unanswered. This retrospective analysis was performed on 171 patients who underwent treatment for DCIS at a tertiary care center over a period of 14 years. Clinical and tumor factors were evaluated, and the local, axillary, and systemic recurrence rates were noted. No axillary recurrences from the primary DCIS diagnosis were noted in the entire group of 171 patients. During a mean follow-up of 70 months, 10 patients (6%) developed recurrence in the ipsilateral breast. Six of these recurrences were in the form of DCIS, whereas, four recurred as invasive cancers. Nine patients developed a new primary (seven DCIS and two invasive) in the same breast but in a different quadrant. Two patients with ipsilateral invasive disease also developed systemic disease and eventually died of disease. During the same period, 10 patients (6%) developed DCIS, and seven patients (4%) developed invasive cancer in the contralateral breast. The data show that the risk of axillary recurrence in pure DCIS is, at most, extremely low and support the position that nodal sampling or dissection is unwarranted.


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