Grantee Name: Florian Fitzal
Organization: Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group
Project Name: TAXIS: Austria
Funding Year: 2018
Project period: 5 years
The main objective of this trial is show that targeted axillary dissection (TAD) is non-inferior to conventional axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in terms of disease-free survival of breast cancer patients. This phase III multicenter trial will be performed within the Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group and is being led by Prof. Walter Weber from the University Hospital Basel and seeks to support 250 patients in Austria.
The removal of all lymph nodes in the armpit through a conventional surgical method called “axillary dissection” has been standard care for patients with breast cancer for almost a century. In the nineties, the „sentinel lymph node“ procedure, which involves the selective removal of the first few affected lymph nodes, was introduced in clinical practice. Today, conventional axillary dissection is still performed on many women with breast cancer that has spread to the nodes. It is the cause for undesired complications (morbidity) in the form of lymphedema, impairment of shoulder mobility, sensation disorders and chronic pain in as much as one third of all women undergoing the procedure.
The TAXIS trial will evaluate the optimal treatment for breast cancer patients in terms of surgery and radiotherapy. In particular, it will investigate the value of „tailored axillary surgery“ (TAS), a new technique that aims at selectively removing the positive lymph nodes combined with axillary radiation. TAS combines the sentinel procedure with the removal of palpably suspicious nodes. It is a promising procedure that may significantly decrease morbidity in breast cancer patients by avoiding surgical over-treatment.
This trial has the potential to establish a new worldwide treatment standard with hopefully less side effects and a better quality of life, while keeping the same efficacy as provided by radical surgery. Tailored refinement of axillary surgery may herald an exciting era of reduced morbidity for breast cancer patients.