Original Article

Lymph Node Ratio Predicts Long-Term Survival in Lymph Node-Positive Breast Cancer


  • Ayşegül Sakin
  • Mehmet Naci Aldemir

Received Date: 24.05.2020 Accepted Date: 22.06.2020 Eur J Breast Health 2020;16(4):270-275


In this study, we aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of axillary lymph node ratio (LNR) for disease-free survival (DFS) in node positive breast cancer (BC) patients with long term follow-up.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 179 stage II to III female BC patients, who were followed between December 2001 and January 2019 at the department of medical oncology, were included in this study. Patients were classified into 3 groups based on the LNR as follows; LNR<0.21, LNR=0.21-0.65, and LNR>0.65. SPSS 22 for windows was used for statistical analysis.


The median age was 49 (range, 24-83) years. The numbers of patients with stage II and stage III disease were 81 (45.3%) and 98 (54.7%), respectively. The median number of lymph node (LN) resected and positive LN were 15 (range, 3-48) and 3 (range, 1-29), respectively. There were 90 patients (50.3%) with LNR <0.21, 62 (34.6%) with LNR=0.21-0.65, and 27 (15.1%) with LNR >0.65. The median disease-free survival (DFS) was not reached in patients with LNR <0.21, 81 months in patients with LNR=0.21-0.65, and 43 months in patients with LNR>0.65 (p<0.001). Overall survival (OS) was found to be significantly related to LNR (p=0.042). In patients with LNR<0.21 and LNR=0.21-0.65, the median OS was not reached. In patients with LNR >0.65, the median OS was 101 months. In multivariate analysis, LNR=0.21-0.65 (Hazard ratio [HR], 6.99), LNR>0.65 (HR, 28.99), and HER-2 negativity (HR, 4.64) were the factors associated with DFS (p<0.05).


LNR is a more useful prognostic factor than the pathological lymph node staging for predicting survival in patients with nod-positive BC.

Keywords: Breast cancer, lymph node ratio, survival