Occult primary adenocarcinoma with axillary metastases

M. Margaret Kemeny, David E. Rivera, Jose J. Terz, John R. Benfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The medical charts of 20 women with occult primary adenocarcinoma with axillary metastases were reviewed. An extensive radiologic workup in search of the primary lesion had a less than 7 percent positivity rate in the 74 studies carried out. Eleven patients were treated with mastectomy, 5 of whom were found to have carcinoma (49 percent). Four of the 11 patients, all with 14 or more positive axillary lymph nodes, died from breast cancer. Seven patients with no evidence of disease had an average of 4.6 positive axillary lymph nodes. Seven patients did not receive mastectomy, and one died from breast cancer. There was no significant difference in survival between the group treated with mastectomy and the group treated with axillary dissection. We conclude that mastectomy is unnecessary for patients with adenocarcinoma in axillary nodes but no apparent primary tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1986


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