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Surgical interventions for the prevention or treatment of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019; 2:CD011433CD

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer amongst women worldwide, and one distressing complication of breast cancer treatment is breast and upper-limb lymphoedema. There is uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of surgical interventions in both the prevention and management of lymphoedema affecting the arm after breast cancer treatment.

OBJECTIVES

1. To assess and compare the efficacy of surgical interventions for the prevention of the development of lymphoedema (LE) in the arm after breast cancer treatment.2. To assess and compare the efficacy of surgical interventions for the treatment of established LE in the arm after breast cancer treatment.

SEARCH METHODS

We searched the Cochrane Breast Cancer Group's Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov for all prospectively registered and ongoing trials on 2 November 2017. Reference lists of included studies were also handsearched by three review authors for additional eligible trials.

SELECTION CRITERIA

All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing a surgical intervention for the prevention or treatment of lymphoedema of the arm after breast cancer treatment to either standard intervention, placebo intervention, or another surgical intervention were included. Patients of both sexes and all ages who have had treatment for their breast cancer were considered. No limits were applied to language or study location. Three authors independently determined the eligibility of each study.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS

Three authors independently extracted data for each included study using a pre-designed data extraction pro forma and used Cochrane's 'risk of bias' tool for assessing risk of bias. Dichotomous variables were analysed using the Mantel-Haenszel method to estimate risk ratios (RRs). Differences in continuous variables were expressed as mean differences (MDs). GRADE was used to assess the certainty of the evidence provided by the included studies.

MAIN RESULTS

Two studies involving 95 participants examined surgical interventions for preventing breast cancer-related lymphoedema. Both studies evaluated the efficacy of the lymphaticovenular anastomosis technique as part of a preventative management protocol. Both studies were deemed to be at unclear risk of bias overall. Statistical variation between the studies was low, which increases the reliability of the evidence. However, the two studies were conducted in the same centre. Lymphaticovenular anastomosis appears to result in a reduction in the incidence of lymphoedema compared to nonoperative management with a risk ratio of 0.20 (95% CI 0.06 to 0.63, P = 0.006; 95 participants; low-certainty evidence). The RCTs did not evaluate any of the secondary outcomes.One study involving 36 participants evaluated the effectiveness of vascularised lymph node transfer for treating breast cancer-related lymphoedema. The trial was deemed to be at unclear risk of bias. For participants suffering from stage 2 lymphoedema, the evidence suggested reductions in limb volume (MD -39.00%, 95% CI -47.37% to -30.63%, very low-certainty evidence), pain scores (MD -4.16, 95% CI -5.17 to -3.15, very low-certainty evidence), heaviness sensation (MD -4.27, 95% CI -5.74 to -2.80, very low-certainty evidence), mean number of infections/year (MD -1.22, 95% CI -2.00 to -0.44, very low-certainty evidence), and an improvement in overall function scores (MD -3.77, 95% CI -4.89 to -2.65, very low-certainty evidence) for those who had undergone vascularised lymph node transfer compared to those who had undergone no treatment.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS

There is low-certainty evidence that lymphaticovenular anastomosis is effective in preventing the development of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment based on the findings from two studies. One study providing very low-certainty evidence found that vascularised lymph node transfer is an efficacious option in the treatment of established stage 2 lymphoedema related to breast cancer. Important secondary outcomes in this review were rarely reported in the included studies. More high-quality RCTs are required to further elucidate the effectiveness of surgical interventions in the prevention and treatment of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment. At the time of this review, no ongoing trials on this topic were identified.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Plastic Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital, PL 266, Helsinki, Finland, FIN-00029 HUS.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Meta-Analysis
Systematic Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

30779124

Citation

Markkula, Silja P., et al. "Surgical Interventions for the Prevention or Treatment of Lymphoedema After Breast Cancer Treatment." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, vol. 2, 2019, p. CD011433.
Markkula SP, Leung N, Allen VB, et al. Surgical interventions for the prevention or treatment of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;2:CD011433.
Markkula, S. P., Leung, N., Allen, V. B., & Furniss, D. (2019). Surgical interventions for the prevention or treatment of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2, p. CD011433. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011433.pub2.
Markkula SP, et al. Surgical Interventions for the Prevention or Treatment of Lymphoedema After Breast Cancer Treatment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Feb 19;2:CD011433. PubMed PMID: 30779124.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Surgical interventions for the prevention or treatment of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment. AU - Markkula,Silja P, AU - Leung,Nelson, AU - Allen,Victoria B, AU - Furniss,Dominic, Y1 - 2019/02/19/ PY - 2020/02/19/pmc-release PY - 2019/2/20/pubmed PY - 2019/4/13/medline PY - 2019/2/20/entrez SP - CD011433 EP - CD011433 JF - The Cochrane database of systematic reviews JO - Cochrane Database Syst Rev VL - 2 N2 - BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer amongst women worldwide, and one distressing complication of breast cancer treatment is breast and upper-limb lymphoedema. There is uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of surgical interventions in both the prevention and management of lymphoedema affecting the arm after breast cancer treatment. OBJECTIVES: 1. To assess and compare the efficacy of surgical interventions for the prevention of the development of lymphoedema (LE) in the arm after breast cancer treatment.2. To assess and compare the efficacy of surgical interventions for the treatment of established LE in the arm after breast cancer treatment. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Breast Cancer Group's Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov for all prospectively registered and ongoing trials on 2 November 2017. Reference lists of included studies were also handsearched by three review authors for additional eligible trials. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing a surgical intervention for the prevention or treatment of lymphoedema of the arm after breast cancer treatment to either standard intervention, placebo intervention, or another surgical intervention were included. Patients of both sexes and all ages who have had treatment for their breast cancer were considered. No limits were applied to language or study location. Three authors independently determined the eligibility of each study. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Three authors independently extracted data for each included study using a pre-designed data extraction pro forma and used Cochrane's 'risk of bias' tool for assessing risk of bias. Dichotomous variables were analysed using the Mantel-Haenszel method to estimate risk ratios (RRs). Differences in continuous variables were expressed as mean differences (MDs). GRADE was used to assess the certainty of the evidence provided by the included studies. MAIN RESULTS: Two studies involving 95 participants examined surgical interventions for preventing breast cancer-related lymphoedema. Both studies evaluated the efficacy of the lymphaticovenular anastomosis technique as part of a preventative management protocol. Both studies were deemed to be at unclear risk of bias overall. Statistical variation between the studies was low, which increases the reliability of the evidence. However, the two studies were conducted in the same centre. Lymphaticovenular anastomosis appears to result in a reduction in the incidence of lymphoedema compared to nonoperative management with a risk ratio of 0.20 (95% CI 0.06 to 0.63, P = 0.006; 95 participants; low-certainty evidence). The RCTs did not evaluate any of the secondary outcomes.One study involving 36 participants evaluated the effectiveness of vascularised lymph node transfer for treating breast cancer-related lymphoedema. The trial was deemed to be at unclear risk of bias. For participants suffering from stage 2 lymphoedema, the evidence suggested reductions in limb volume (MD -39.00%, 95% CI -47.37% to -30.63%, very low-certainty evidence), pain scores (MD -4.16, 95% CI -5.17 to -3.15, very low-certainty evidence), heaviness sensation (MD -4.27, 95% CI -5.74 to -2.80, very low-certainty evidence), mean number of infections/year (MD -1.22, 95% CI -2.00 to -0.44, very low-certainty evidence), and an improvement in overall function scores (MD -3.77, 95% CI -4.89 to -2.65, very low-certainty evidence) for those who had undergone vascularised lymph node transfer compared to those who had undergone no treatment. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is low-certainty evidence that lymphaticovenular anastomosis is effective in preventing the development of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment based on the findings from two studies. One study providing very low-certainty evidence found that vascularised lymph node transfer is an efficacious option in the treatment of established stage 2 lymphoedema related to breast cancer. Important secondary outcomes in this review were rarely reported in the included studies. More high-quality RCTs are required to further elucidate the effectiveness of surgical interventions in the prevention and treatment of lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment. At the time of this review, no ongoing trials on this topic were identified. SN - 1469-493X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30779124/Surgical_interventions_for_the_prevention_or_treatment_of_lymphoedema_after_breast_cancer_treatment_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011433.pub2 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -