Faculty Publications


Age and axillary lymph node ratio in postmenopausal women with T1-T2 node positive breast cancer

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Bayesian information criterion, BIC, Breast neoplasms, Cause-specific mortality, Competing risks, Elderly, GAMLSS, Generalized additive models for location scale and shape, Lymph nodes, Prognosis, SEER program, Survival

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Purpose. The purpose of this article was to examine the relationship between age and lymph node ratio (LNR, number of positive nodes divided by number of examined nodes), and to determine their effects on breast cancer (BC) and overall mortality. Methods. Women aged>50 years, diagnosed in 1988-1997 with a unilateral histologically confirmed T1-T2 node positive surgically treated primary nonmetastatic BC, were selected from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER). Generalized Additive Models for Location Scale and Shape (GAMLSS) were used to evaluate the age-LNR relationship. Cumulative incidence functions and multivariate competing risks analysis based on model selection by the Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) were used to examine the effect of age and LNR on mortality. Low LNR was defined as <0.20, mid-LNR 0.21- 0.65, and high LNR >0.65. Results. GAMLSS showed a nonlinear LNR-age relationship, increasing from mean LNR 0.26-0.28 at age 50 -70 years to 0.30 at 80 years and 0.40 at 90 years. Compared with a 9.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 8.8%-10.8%] risk of BC death at 5 years in women aged 50-59 years with low LNR, the risk in women>80 years with low LNR was 12.6% [95% CI 10.1% 15.0%], mid- LNR 18.1% [13.9%-22.1%], high LNR 29.8% [22.7%- 36.1%]. Five-years overall risk of death increased from 40.8% [37.5%-43.9%] by low LNR to 67.4% [61.4%- 72.4%] by high LNR. The overall mortality hazard ratio for age >80 years with high LNR was 7.49 [6.54-8.59], as compared with women aged 50 -59 years with low LNR. Conclusion. High LNR combined with older age was associated with a threefold increased risk of BC death and a sevenfold increased hazard ratio of overall mortality. © AlphaMed Press.

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