Managing the Axilla in Early Breast Cancer. Impact of ACOSOG Z0011 Trial in Changing Practices in a Low Middle Income Country

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center, Pakistan.

2 Services Institue of Medical Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan.

3 Militrary Hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.


Objective: To determine the impact of the trial on surgeon practice patterns at our institution. Methodology: A comparison of patients undergoing surgery for early breast cancer before and after the implementation of the new guidelines was done. We adopted the new guidelines in April 2015. Patients meeting Z0011 inclusion criteria were identified. For group A (Pre Z0011) patients operated between Jan to Dec 2013 were studied. And for Group B (Post Z0011) patients operated between July 2014 to Jun 2015 were included. Clinicopathologic data were compared between the two groups. Results: There were 318 patients with clinical T1-2 tumors planned for breast conservation. 68% patients had T1 tumor and 32% had T2. 92% of the patients had IDCa. There were 150 patients in the pre-Z0011 group and 168 post-Z0011. 68% of the patients in Group A were ER+ve while 70% in group B. 38 (25.7 %) patients were sentinel lymph node (SLN) positive in the pre-Z0011 group versus 34 (21 %) post-Z0011 (p = 0.392). Before Z0011 100 % (38/38) of SLN-positive patients underwent axillary node dissection (ALND) versus 17 % (6/34) after Z0011 (p < 0.01). Median no of SLNs identified in group A were 1.3 and group B were 1.4. There was a decrease in median operative times of the two groups (80 vs. 60 min, p < 0.01). There was a significant decrease in the overall hospital stay of sentinel lymph node positive patients in between the two groups (2.1 days vs 1.3 days p value < 0.01). Conclusions: Implemention of Z0011 guidelines has resulted in significant short term advantages in terms of reduced axiilary dissections, shorter operative times and shoter hospital stays.


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