How cancer spreads to lymph nodes

Nov. 5, 2010 at 2:10 AM

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say lymphovascular invasion -- cancer cells invading blood vessels or the lymphatic system -- predicts recurrence of breast cancer.

Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia looked at lymphovascular invasion by analyzing recurrence patterns of thousands of women with breast cancer from records spanning more than 30 years. The database included 3,082 breast cancer patients who underwent whole-breast radiation or minimal surgical resection of breast tissue.

"The microscopic diagnosis of lymphovascular invasion is challenging which highlights the importance of excellent pathologists," study leader Dr. Wilhelm Lubbe said in a statement.

The researchers found breast cancer was more likely to invade lymph nodes in women younger than 35 and additional radiation therapy under the armpit via posterior axillary boost led to fewer breast cancer recurrences in these women's regional lymph nodes. The extra procedure led to less cancer recurrence even though the women were at higher risk, the researchers say.

The study findings are being presented in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

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