Axillary staging in ductal carcinoma in situ with microinvasion: A meta-analysis

Surg Oncol. 2021 Jun:37:101557. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2021.101557. Epub 2021 Mar 31.


Introduction: Ductal carcinoma in situ with microinvasion (DCISM); arguably a more aggressive subtype of DCIS, currently has variable recommendations governing its staging and management in the UK. As a result, there is ongoing controversy surrounding the most appropriate management of DCISM, in particular the need of axillary staging.

Method: A search was conducted on the databases MEDLINE and Embase using the keywords: breast, DCISM, microinvasion, "ductal carcinoma in situ with microinvasion", sentinel lymph node biopsy, SLNB, axillary staging was performed. 23 studies were selected for analysis. Primary outcome was the positivity of metastasis of lymph node; secondary outcome looked at characteristics of DCISM that may affect node positivity.

Results: A total of 2959 patients were included. Significant heterogeneity was observed amongst the studies with regards to metastases (I2 = 61%; P < 0.01). Lymph node macrometastases was estimated to be 2%. Significant subgroup difference was not observed between SLNB technique and lymph node macrometastases (Q = 0.74; p = 0.69). Statistical significance was observed between the focality of the DCISM and lymph node macrometastases (Q = 8.71; p = 0.033).

Conclusion: Although histologically more advanced than DCIS, DCISM is not linked with higher rates of clinically significant metastasis to axillary lymph nodes. Survival rates are very similar to those seen in cases of DCIS. Current evidence suggests that axillary staging in cases of DCISM will not change their overall management, thus may only be an unnecessary and inconvenient additional intervention considering the majority of DCISM diagnoses are made from post-operative pathology samples. A multidisciplinary team approach evaluating pre-operative clinical and histological information to tailor the management specific to individual cases of DCISM would be a preferred approach than routine axillary staging.

Keywords: Axillary staging; Breast surgery; Ductal carcinoma in situ with microinvasion.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Micrometastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Survival Rate