ABSTRACT: To examine four-node axillary sampling assisted by a blue dye (4NAS/dye) technique as a sentinel node biopsy (SNB) for breast cancer.
Lymphatic mapping was performed by injection of patent blue for 33 consecutive cases with breast cancer. Axillary sampling was performed until four nodes were obtained. This was followed by back-up axillary lymph node dissection to examine the feasibility of 4NAS/dye. The same study with 30 cases was conducted at an independent hospital to confirm the feasibility of this method. This method was then applied to 101 consecutive clinically node-negative patients to avoid axillary-node dissection, with intraoperative diagnosis made by frozen section examination.
The median numbers of blue-stained nodes and nodes excised by 4NAS/dye were 1.7 and 3.4, respectively. The identification rate of sentinel lymph nodes (SNs) was 81.8% using the dye alone and 97.0% when the combination was used. Pathological examination revealed that the nodal status was correctly predicted by the dye alone in 62.5% of cases with metastasis, whereas in 100% by 4NAS/dye. The dye alone was not sufficient to identify SNs, especially in cases with prior excisional biopsy. The identification rate of SNs and the accuracy rate in another feasibility study were 100% and 92.5% in 30 consecutive cases, respectively. 4NAS/dye successfully detected SNs in 100 of 101 cases of the subsequent observational study with an acceptable post-operative axillary morbidity and thus succeeded as an SNB.
The 4NAS/dye method is reliable for the detection of SNs. This method could be applied to observational studies without radio-isotope.
European Journal of Surgical Oncology 01/2006; 31(10):1119-24. · 2.50 Impact Factor