Application of ACOSOG Z1071: Effect of Results on Patient Care and Surgical Decision-Making

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The translation of new clinical information into practice can be quite lengthy. We examined our experience in using new data showing that sentinel lymph node biopsy in women after neoadjuvant chemotherapy was feasible. Adoption of ACOSOG (American College of Surgeons Oncology Group) Z1071 was rapid with 73% of patients being treated with the new paradigm within 18 months.Background:The ACOSOG (American College of Surgeons Oncology Group) Z1071 assessed the feasibility of performing sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in node-positive patients who completed neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). Historically, adoption of clinical research into practice takes years. The goal of this study was to determine the effect of Z1071 on our practice.Materials and Methods:This is a retrospective review of Z1071’s influence on a single institution’s practice. Patients with biopsy-proven positive axillary lymph nodes before NACT were eligible for the study. After NACT, patients with nodal response according to imaging and exam were candidates for SLNB. Two cohorts were stratified according to diagnosis date before and after Z1071 results were presented on December 5, 2012 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Fisher exact tests and nonparametric rank tests were used to compare cohorts.Results:The pre-Z1071 cohort included 74 patients and the post-Z1071 cohort 56 for a total of 130 patients. Post-Z1071, 73% (41/56) underwent a SLNB with an average of 4 nodes removed. Moreover, 27% (15/56) of patients had an axillary lymph node dissection as first intervention post-Z1071, compared with 99% (73/74) pre-Z1071. Axillary pathologic complete response pre-Z1071 was 35% (26/74) and post-Z1071 was 27% (15/56) (P = .35).Conclusion:This report shows that meaningful practice changes can be implemented rapidly. Changes in practice generated by clinical trial results should be monitored and outcomes followed.

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