Clinical Research Papers:

The lymph node ratio as an independent prognostic factor for node-positive triple-negative breast cancer

Min He, Jia-Xin Zhang, Yi-Zhou Jiang, Ying-Le Chen, Hai-Yuan Yang, Li-Chen Tang, Zhi-Ming Shao and Gen-Hong Di _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:44870-44880. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17413

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Min He1,*, Jia-Xin Zhang1,*, Yi-Zhou Jiang1, Ying-Le Chen1, Hai-Yuan Yang1, Li-Chen Tang1, Zhi-Ming Shao1 and Gen-Hong Di1

1Department of Breast Surgery, Key Laboratory of Breast Cancer, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Gen-Hong Di, email: [email protected]

Keywords: lymph node ratio, triple-negative breast cancer, prognosis

Received: December 21, 2016    Accepted: March 29, 2017    Published: April 25, 2017


Background: We aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of the lymph node ratio (LNR) in patients with axillary lymph node-positive triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

Methods: The prognostic efficacy was investigated in the first cohort from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) dataset (n=4114) and was further validated in an independent cohort from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center (n=417). Patients were classified into low-, medium- and high-risk LNR groups.

Results: Multivariate analysis revealed that the LNR was an independent predictor of overall survival (hazard ratio (HR) for high-risk LNR: 3.24; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.56 to 4.09) and breast cancer-specific survival (HR for high-risk LNR: 3.57; 95% CI: 2.76 to 4.62) in the SEER population and also for disease-free survival (HR for high-risk LNR: 4.29; 95% CI: 2.24-8.21) in the validation population. Subgroup analysis revealed that patient classification according to the LNR could discriminate among groups of patients with different survival rates based on pathological nodal (pN) staging.

Conclusion: The LNR shows potential for use as an additional prognostic factor for TNBC patients with positive lymph node involvement. Considering the heterogeneity of TNBC, use of the LNR might allow for optimization of the pN staging system and should be considered when making treatment decisions.

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