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RT of lymph nodes as good as dissection for the long-term



SAN ANTONIO – Both axillary radiation therapy and axillary lymph node dissection provide excellent, comparable locoregional control in patients with early-stage breast cancer who have a positive sentinel node, according to updated results of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer’s AMAROS trial.

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The 10-year cumulative incidence rate of axillary recurrence was 1.82% with radiation and 0.93% with lymph node dissection, a nonsignificant difference (hazard ratio, 1.71; P = .365). Distant metastasis–free survival and overall survival also were statistically on par. The findings reinforce the trial’s 5-year results, which additionally showed a markedly lower incidence of lymphedema with axillary radiation therapy. Lead investigator Emiel J. T. Rutgers, MD, PhD, reflected on hesitation in the uptake of axillary radiation therapy among oncologists and discussed the AMAROS results in the context of the ACOSOG Z11 trial. Dr. Rutgers, the principal investigator of the AMAROS trial and a surgical oncologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, also described how the trial’s findings have altered practice at his institution.

Dr. Rutgers disclosed that he had no relevant conflicts of interest. The study was supported by the EORTC Charitable Trust.

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