Back to Cancer Australia's website

Cancer Australia

Select a guideline

Recommendations for staging and managing the axilla

Summary of evidence

The NBOCC statements and recommendations for staging and managing the axilla are based on an NBOCC systematic review48 of studies published between January 2000 and August 2007 that address the following issues in patients with early breast cancer: axillary dissection versus four-node sampling in axillary staging; axillary dissection versus non-surgical methods in axillary staging; the optimal extent of axillary dissection; the prognostic significance of the number of nodes retrieved and the number/proportion of involved nodes identified at axillary dissection; long-term outcomes of axillary dissection; and axillary radiotherapy (with or without axillary dissection) following breast surgery. The review included:

  • four systematic reviews,49-52  two on particular imaging techniques to stage the axilla and two on post-mastectomy radiotherapy
  • eleven randomised controlled clinical trials19-25, 53-58
  • approximately 90 non-randomised clinical trials including studies on diagnostic accuracy, prognostic studies, observational studies and case series6-17, 26-32, 35-45, 59-121
  • one consensus statement122 and one clinical practice guideline.123

Key additional studies, trials and meta-analyses relevant to this guideline were also considered after completion of the NBOCC systematic review.18, 33, 124

Published using CeCC Docbook Manager