Prediction of axillary lymph node metastases in breast cancer patients based on pathologic information of the primary tumor
Jia-Long Wu, Hsin-Shun Tseng, Li-Heng Yang, Hwa-Koon Wu, Shou-Jen Kuo, Shou-Tung Chen, Dar-Ren Chen
Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan
Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:577-581
Available online: 2014-04-08
Axillary lymph nodes (ALN) are the most commonly involved site of disease in breast cancer that has spread outside the primary lesion. Although sentinel node biopsy is a reliable way to manage ALN, there are still no good methods of predicting ALN status before surgery. Since morbidity in breast cancer surgery is predominantly related to ALN dissection, predictive models for lymph node involvement may provide a way to alert the surgeon in subgroups of patients.
Material and Methods: A total of 1325 invasive breast cancer patients were analyzed using tumor biological parameters that included age, tumor size, grade, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, lymphovascular invasion, and HER2, to test their ability to predict ALN involvement. A support vector machine (SVM) was used as a classification model. The SVM is a machine-learning system developed using statistical learning theories to classify data points into 2 classes. Notably, SVM models have been applied in bioinformatics.
Results: The SVM model correctly predicted ALN metastases in 74.7% of patients using tumor biological parameters. The predictive ability of luminal A, luminal B, triple negative, and HER2 subtypes using subgroup analysis showed no difference, and this predictive performance was inferior, with only 60% accuracy.
Conclusions: With an SVM model based on clinical pathologic parameters obtained in the primary tumor, it is possible to predict ALN status in order to alert the surgeon about breast cancer counseling and in decision-making for ALN management.
Keywords: Breast Neoplasms - pathology, Axilla - pathology, Lymph Nodes - pathology, Lymphatic Metastasis - pathology, Prognosis, ROC Curve, support vector machines