Factors determining adequacy of axillary node dissection in breast cancer patients

Anees B. Chagpar, Charles R. Scoggins, Robert C G Martin, Sunati Sahoo, David J. Carlson, Alison L. Laidley, Souzan E. El-Eid, Terre Q. McGlothin, Kelly M. McMasters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


With increased focus on quality assurance, a complete axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) has been defined as the removal of 10 or more lymph nodes (LN). The objective of this study was to determine which patient, physician, and geographic factors predict the adequacy of ALND in breast cancer patients. The University of Louisville Breast Cancer Sentinel Lymph Node Study is a multicenter, prospective study of 4,131 patients, all of whom had a sentinel node biopsy and completion ALND. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine which factors were independently associated with the removal of 10 or more LN. Of the 4,131 patients in this study, the median number of LN removed was 11 (range; 3-45). Ten or more LN were removed in 3,213 (77.8%) patients. The median patient age in this study was 60 (range; 27-100), with a median tumor size of 1.5 cm (range; 0.1-11.0 cm). On univariate analysis, patient age, tumor size, and palpability were correlated with adequacy of ALND. Academic affiliation and percentage of breast practice were significant physician factors predictive of adequacy of ALND. Both geographic region and community size were significantly correlated with adequacy of ALND. On multivariate analysis, patient age (p = 0.024), surgeon academic affiliation (p < 0.001), percentage breast practice (p < 0.001), and community size (p = 0.003) were significant determinants of adequacy of ALND. Younger patients were more likely to have an adequate ALND. Surgeons in academic practice had a higher rate of adequate ALND, as did those practicing in larger communities. Surgeons with a more breast experience had a lower rate of adequate ALND. Patient age, surgeon academic affiliation, and breast experience, as well as community size are all significant factors predictive of adequacy of ALND.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Axillary dissection
  • Breast cancer
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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