Prognostic significance of lymphatic invasion in lymph node positive breast carcinoma: findings from a large case series with long-term follow-up using immunohistochemical endothelial marker.
The poor prognostic significance of lymphatic invasion (LI) in breast carcinoma (BC) as a whole and in lymph node (LN)-negative patients in particular has been recognized in several studies; however, its prognostic role in LN-positive patients is still questionable. Aim of the current study was to assess prognostic role of LI in LN-positive BC specimens. Sections from non-selected 557 LN-positive BC specimens were stained with antibody to podoplanin/D2-40. LI was identified and correlated with clinicopathological features and patients' outcome. Twenty-year overall survival (OS), disease-free interval (DFI), and development of distant metastasis (DM) or recurrence were known for all patients. LI was detected in 262/557 (47%) of specimens ranging from 1 to 350 lesion per tumor section. Its presence was associated with higher grade tumors (P<0.0001), negative hormonal receptors (P<0.0001), high HER-2 expression (P=0.006), and with increased number of positive LNs (P=0.019). In the whole LN-positive BC, presence of LI was a poor prognostic factor for OS, DFI, and development of DM both in univariate and in multivariate analysis. In further stratification of patients, LI was associated with poorer prognosis in patients with single positive LN and not in patients with >1 positive LN. In T1N1 stage, LI was highly associated with poor OS (P=0.002), DFI (P<0.0001), and DM (P<0.0001). In T2N1 patients, LI was associated only with poorer DFI (P=0.037) but not with death or DM. In the two former patient groups, LI lost significance in multivariate analysis. In conclusion, LI is a poor prognostic factor in LN-positive BC particularly for patients having single positive LN. LI therefore would add further prognostic significance when considered in treatment in those patients. We recommend incorporation of LI in breast carcinoma staging and in prognostic indices.
- Pathology