The Society of Surgical Oncology, inc.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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OncotypeDX Recurrence Score Does Not Predict Nodal Burden in Clinically Node Negative Breast Cancer Patients

S. E. Tevis MD, R. Bassett MS, I. Bedrosian MD, C. H. Barcenas MD, MSc, D. M. Black MD, A. S. Caudle MD, MS, S. M. DeSnyder MD, E. Fitzsullivan MD, K. K. Hunt MD, H. M. Kuerer MD, PhD, A. Lucci MD, F. Meric-Bernstam MD, E. A. Mittendorf MD, PhD, K. Park MD, M. Teshome MD, A. M. Thompson MD, R. F. Hwang MD
Breast Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 3 / March , 2019



OncotypeDX recurrence score (RS)® has been found to predict recurrence and disease-free survival in patients with node negative breast cancer. Whether RS is useful in guiding locoregional therapy decisions is unclear. We sought to evaluate the relationship between RS and lymph node burden.


Patients with invasive breast cancer who underwent sentinel lymph node dissection from 2010 to 2015 were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Patients were excluded if they were clinically node positive or if they received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. RS was classified as low (< 18), intermediate (18–30), or high (> 30). The association between RS, lymph node burden, and disease recurrence was evaluated. Statistical analyses were performed in R version 3.4.0; p < 0.05 was considered significant.


A positive SLN was found in 168 (15%) of 1121 patients. Completion axillary lymph node dissection was performed in 84 (50%) of SLN-positive patients. The remaining 84 (50%) patients had one to two positive SLNs and did not undergo further axillary surgery. RS was low in 58.5%, intermediate in 32.6%, and high in 8.9%. RS was not associated with a positive SLN, number of positive nodes, maximum node metastasis size, or extranodal extension. The median follow-up was 23 months. High RS was not associated with locoregional recurrence (p = 0.07) but was significantly associated with distant recurrence (p = 0.0015).


OncotypeDX RS is not associated with nodal burden in women with clinically node-negative breast cancer, suggesting that RS is not useful to guide decisions regarding extent of axillary surgery for these patients.

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