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Pathology Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 161964, 8 pages
Research Article

The Prognostic Value of Lymph Node Cross-Sectional Cancer Area in Node-Positive Breast Cancer: A Comparison with N Stage and Lymph Node Ratio

1Department of Pathology, Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, USA
2Department of Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, USA

Received 26 April 2012; Revised 20 August 2012; Accepted 5 September 2012

Academic Editor: Gary Tse

Copyright © 2012 Yanxia Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The number of positive axillary lymph nodes (LNs) is the only node-related factor for prognostic evaluation of breast cancer recognized by AJCC (TNM staging). However, N staging may not completely reflect LN tumor involvement due to the erroneous count of LNs in the presence of matted LNs and different tumor volume in LNs. Additionally, the positive/total LN ratio (LNR) has been shown to outperform N staging in survival prediction. In our study, to better quantify the tumor involvement of axillary LNs, we measured the cross-sectional cancer area (CSCA) of the positive LNs in 292 breast cancer patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2000 in our institution and compared its prognostic value to that of number of positive LNs (metLN)/N stage and LNR. Statistical analyses of these three LN-related factors were performed by Kaplan-Meier method and multivariate Cox's regression model. Patients were divided into three groups based on the different LN CSCA (<50, 50–500, and >500 mm2), or LNR (<0.1, 0.1–0.65, and >0.65), or N stage (N1–N3). Multivariate analysis demonstrated LNR was the most significant LN-related survival predictor with hazard ratio (HR) 25.0 ( ), compared to the metLN (HR 0.09, ) and CSCA (HR 2.24, ).