Clinical relevance of sentinel lymph nodes in the internal mammary chain in breast cancer patients.

Department of Nuclear Medicine (CDI), Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging (Impact Factor: 5.11). 12/2005; 32(11):1283-7. DOI: 10.1007/s00259-005-1867-z
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite the widespread use of sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in breast cancer patients, some controversy exists about the correct management of extra-axillary nodes, especially those located in the internal mammary chain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of SLNs in this region, calculate the lymphoscintigraphic and surgical detection rates and evaluate the clinical impact on staging and therapeutic decisions.
The study involved 383 consecutive women diagnosed with early breast cancer with T1 or T2 tumours. Eight patients had a bilateral tumour, which brought the total to 391 lesions. Lymphoscintigraphy was performed on the day before surgery by injection of (99m)Tc-labelled nanocolloid. The injection site was subdermal (68 patients), peritumoural (107 patients) or intratumoural (216 patients). During surgery a gamma probe was used to guide the surgeon and the SLNs were removed. SLNs were analysed by a conventional pathological study and processed for H&E examination and immunohistochemistry.
Lymphoscintigraphy detected at least one SLN in 369 out of the 391 procedures (94.4%). SLNs were found in the axillary chain in 367 cases and in the internal mammary chain in 55. In two of these 55 cases (3.6%), the SLN was the only one detected. There was no drainage to the internal mammary chain in any case of subdermal injection but such drainage was found in 15.9% of cases with peritumoural injection and 17.6% of those with intratumoural injection. Compared with tumours located in the outer quadrants, a higher percentage of tumours located in the inner quadrants showed drainage to the internal mammary chain (p<0.001). A total of 42 SLNs in the internal mammary chain could be removed in 32 patients without appreciable morbidity. In 20 cases both axillary and internal mammary SLNs were negative, in four both were positive, and in five axillary SLNs were positive and internal mammary SLNs were negative. More interestingly, in the remaining patient with both axillary and internal mammary SLNs, the axillary SLN was negative while malignant cells were found in the internal mammary region. In the evaluation of the clinical impact of internal mammary SLN biopsy, we found that staging was modified from pN1a to pN1c in four patients and, more importantly, from pN0 to pN0(i+) in one patient. The change in stage led to a modification of the postoperative treatment plan with respect to radiotherapy and systemic therapy.
Evaluation of the SLNs in the internal mammary chain provides more accurate staging of breast cancer patients. If internal mammary sampling is not performed, patients can be understaged. This technique can offer a better indication of those patients who will benefit from selective treatment options like radiotherapy to this region or systemic therapy.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Peritumoral and periareolar tracer injection techniques lead to different lymphatic drainage in sentinel lymph node biopsy procedures. In a prospective study, the visualization and identification rates of the ultrasound (US)-guided tracer injection technique for palpable and nonpalpable breast tumors were evaluated. In 1262 consecutive patients with cT₁₋₂N0 breast cancer, sentinel lymph node biopsy was performed following peritumoral tracer injection. In the case of nonpalpable breast lesions, Tc-99m nanocolloid injections were given using a 7.5 MHz US probe. In the case of ultrasonographically nonvisible microcalcifications, the US-guided injection technique was wire guided. In 331 patients with nonpalpable breast lesions (26.2%), the lymphoscintigraphic visualization and surgical retrieval rates of axillary sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) were 98.5 and 99.4%, respectively. For internal mammary (IM) SLNs, these rates were 21.1 and 17.8%, respectively. These rates were similar in patients with palpable and nonpalpable tumors. Axillary metastases were detected in 38.7% of the patients with palpable tumors versus 16.5% of those with nonpalpable tumors (P<0.001), whereas IM metastases were found in 4.8 and 3.0% of patients, respectively (P=0.165). In nonpalpable breast lesions, the US-guided injection technique is an accurate technique for SLN identification and retrieval. The substantial rates of IM metastases in both palpable and nonpalpable lesions favor a peritumoral tracer injection technique.
    Nuclear Medicine Communications 10/2011; 33(1):80-3. · 1.38 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to investigate the practice of axillary lymph node management within different units throughout the UK, and to assess changes in practice since our previous survey in 2004. A structured questionnaire was sent to 350 members of the British Association of Surgical Oncology. There were 177 replies from respondents who managed more than 100 patients a year with breast cancer. Of these: 12 did not perform axillary ultrasound at all in their centre; 17 (10%) employed axillary node clearance (ANC) on all patients; 122 (69%) performed sentinel node biopsy (SNB) with dual localisation; and 111 respondents had attended the New Start Course. Radioisotope was most frequently injected 2 h or more before operation. Just 13 surgeons were convinced of the value of dissecting internal mammary nodes visualised on a scan. Reasons for not using dual localisation included lack of nuclear medicine facilities, no local ARSAC licence holder, no probe, and no funding. Sixty-six surgeons stated that, if they had an ARSAC licence and could inject the radioactivity in theatre, this would be a major improvement. In addition, 83 (47%) did not perform SLNB in patients receiving neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. Despite significant changes since 2004, substantial variation remains in management of the axilla. A number of surgeons are practicing outwith current guidelines.
    Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England 09/2010; 92(6):506-11. · 1.33 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this article, we have reviewed available evidence for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up in female breast cancer (BC). Into daily clinical practice some controversies are occurred. Especially, in the diagnosis field, despite the fact that the optimal age in which screening mammography should start is a subject of intense controversy, there is a shift toward the beginning at the age of 40 although it is suggested that the net benefit is small for women aged 40 to 49 years. In addition, a promising tool in BC screening seems to be breast tomosynthesis. Other tools such as 3D ultrasound and shear wave elastography (SWE) are full of optimism in BC screening although ultrasonography is not yet a first-line screening method and there is insufficient evidence to recommend the systemic use of the SWE for BC screening. As for breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), even if it is useful in BC detection in women who have a strong family history of BC, it is not generally recommended as a screening tool. Moreover, based on the lack of randomized clinical trials showing a benefit of presurgical breast MRI in overall survival, it's integration into breast surgical operations remains debatable. Interestingly, in contrast to fine needle aspiration, core biopsy has gained popularity in presurgical diagnosis. Furthermore, after conservative surgery in patients with positive sentinel lymph nodes, the recent tendency is the shift from axillary dissection to axillary conserving strategies. While the accuracy of sentinel lymph node after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and second BC surgery remains controversial, more time is needed for evaluation and for determining the optimal interval between the two surgeries. Additionally, in the decision between immediate or delayed breast reconstruction, there is a tendency in the immediate use. In the prevention of BC, the controversial issue between tamoxifen and raloxifene becomes clear with raloxifene be more profitable through the toxicities of tamoxifen. However, the prevention of bone metastasis with bisphosphonates is still conflicting. Last but not least, in the follow-up of BC survivors, mammography, history and physical examination are the means of an early detection of BC recurrence. ed.
    World journal of clinical oncology. 08/2014; 5(3):359-373.