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: 5.38). 12/2005; 32(11):1283-7. DOI: 10.1007/s00259-005-1867-z
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "Due to the relative complexity of the TUMIR technique, careful evaluation of the learning curves is probably required. The extensive experience in SLN detection in our institution for other gynecological malignancies such as the breast [37] [38], vulva [39] and uterine cervix [38] [40] did not make evaluation of the number of cases required to achieve an adequate technical skill necessary. Thus, the TUMIR method fulfills most of the expected goals for SLN techniques in patients with EC. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The objective of this prospective study was to determine the feasibility, safety and performance of a new method for sentinel lymph node (SLN) detection in endometrial cancer (EC) using transvaginal ultrasound-guided myometrial injection of radiotracer (TUMIR). Methods: From 2006 to 2011, 74 patients with high-risk EC were included in the study. Twenty-four hours before surgery 148MBq of (99m)Tc-nanocolloid (8mL) was injected into two spots in the anterior and posterior myometrium using an ultrasound-guided transvaginal puncture. SLN was localized preoperatively by lymphoscintigraphy and intraoperatively with gamma probe. After SLN biopsy the patients underwent a complete laparoscopic pelvic and paraaortic lymphadenectomy. Results: The TUMIR method was successfully achieved in 67/74 patients (90.5%). SLN was identified in 55 women (74.3%). No adverse effects were observed. Pelvic drainage was observed in 87.2% of women and paraaortic SLN was identified in 45.4%, with 12.8% of the patients draining only in this area. The mean number of SLN retrieved was 2.8 per patient (range 1 to 9). Metastatic disease was found in 13 (23.6%) patients. Metastatic involvement of the paraaortic lymph nodes was observed in 4 (30.7%) cases. All were identified by TUMIR. The sensitivity and negative predictive value of SLN detected by TUMIR to detect metastasis were 92.3% (95% CI 22.9-100) and 97.7% (95% CI 82.0-100), respectively. Conclusions: TUMIR is a safe, feasible method to detect SLN in patients with EC, has a good detection rate and provides representative information of the lymphatic drainage of EC.
    Gynecologic Oncology 10/2012; 128(1). DOI:10.1016/j.ygyno.2012.10.008 · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    • "However, the significance of internal mammary sentinel node biopsy is under debate. There is evidence that mapping it leads to stage migration and modification of treatment planning with respect to radiotherapy and systemic therapy, but more evidence is necessary to support that it will improve the outcome of treatment and survival [11] [12]. A second sentinel node biopsy may be performed in patients with a local recurrence after breast conservation and negative axillary sentinel node biopsy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Axillary node status is a major prognostic factor in early-stage disease. Traditional staging needs levels I and II axillary lymph node dissection. Axillary involvement is found in 10%-30% of patients with T1 (<2 cm) tumours. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a minimal invasive method of checking the potential nodal involvement. It is based on the assumption of an orderly progression of lymph node invasion by metastatic cells from tumour site. Thus, when sentinel node is free of metastases the remaining nodes are free, too (with a false negative rate lesser than 5%). Moreover, Randomized trials demonstrated a marked reduction of complications associated with the sentinel lymph node biopsy when compared with axillary lymph node dissection. Currently, the sentinel node biopsy procedure is recognized as the standard treatment for stages I and II. In these stages, this approach has a positive node rate similar to those observed after lymphadenectomy, a significant decrease in morbidity and similar nodal relapse rates at 5 years. In this review, the indications and contraindications of the sentinel node biopsy are summarized and the methodological aspects discussed. Finally, the new technologic and histologic developments allow to develop a more accurate and refinate technique that can achieve virtually the identification of 100% of sentinel nodes and reduce the false negative rate.
    Journal of Oncology 08/2012; 2012(7):361341. DOI:10.1155/2012/361341
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    • "This rate is confirmed with other studies, considering the use of peritumoral or intratumoral injection of the radiotracer [6, 7, 9, 11]. The proportion of patients with IMC metastases and concomitant axillary metastases (50 %) is however, low compared to results reported by others [5–7, 11, 12, 16]. According to the current guidelines, exploration of the IMC leads to adjustment of the systemic treatment in none of the patients. "
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    ABSTRACT: Routine removal of the internal mammary chain (IMC) sentinel node in breast cancer patients remains a subject of discussion. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of routinely performed IMC sentinel node biopsy on the systemic and locoregional treatments plan. All patients with biopsy proven breast cancer who underwent a sentinel node procedure between 2002 and 2011 were included in a prospective database. In cases of IMC drainage, successful exploration of the IMC (i.e., sentinel node removed) and surgical complications were registered. If the removed sentinel node contained malignant cells we determined if this altered the treatment plan when practising the current guidelines. In total, 119 of the 493 included patients showed IMC drainage on lymphoscintigraphy. Exploration of the IMC was performed in 107 (89 %) patients; in 86/107 (80 %) exploration was successful. In 14/107 patients (13 %) the IMC sentinel node was tumor positive. Macro and micro metastases were found in eight and six patients, respectively. In the group of patients who underwent surgical exploration of the IMC, systemic treatment was changed in none, radiotherapy treatment in 13/107 patients (11 %). Routine sentinel node biopsy of the IMC does not alter the systemic treatment. Radiotherapy treatment is altered in a small proportion of the patients; however, solid scientific evidence for this adjustment is lacking.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 06/2012; 134(2):735-41. DOI:10.1007/s10549-012-2086-5 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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