The value of intraoperative frozen section examination of sentinel lymph nodes in breast cancer

Department of Surgery, Rijnstate Hospital, TA Arnhem, The Netherlands.
European journal of surgical oncology: the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology (Impact Factor: 3.01). 09/2008; 35(3):276-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejso.2008.07.016
Source: PubMed


Sentinel node biopsy is a standard diagnostic component for the treatment of patients with a primary mammary carcinoma. By concomitantly performing intraoperative lymph node biopsy and primary tumor resection, patients with a positive sentinel node (SN) are not subjected to the inconvenience and risks of second surgical intervention. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the sensitivity, accuracy and long-term consequences of the frozen section (FS) examination of the SN in breast cancer patients.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy was performed in 615 patients with an invasive tumor of the breast. Frozen sections of the SN were taken from the optimal cross-sectional surface. Serial sections were made from the remaining SN and stained using hematoxylin-eosin and immunohistochemistry.
Sentinel node frozen biopsy accurately predicted the state of the axilla in 559 (90.7%) patients. There were 50 false-negative findings in patients with sentinel node metastases. The sensitivity and specificity of the intraoperative frozen section examination were 71.6% and 100%, respectively. Follow-up (mean 36.3 months) of all false-negative cases showed no development of local axillary recurrence. The results demonstrated no significant relation between tumor size and frozen section sensitivity. Frozen section investigation was less sensitive in ascertaining micrometastases (sensitivity 61.1%) than macrometastases (sensitivity 84.0%, p<0.001).
Intraoperative frozen section examination of the sentinel node is a useful predictor of axillary lymph node status in breast cancer patients. Seventy-two percent of the patients with metastatic disease were correctly diagnosed and spared a second surgical procedure.

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Available from: Jos W Meijer, Oct 17, 2014
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    • "However, among the drawbacks of FS are (1) the possibility of false negative and false positive results and (2) increase in operation time, because extra time is scheduled in advance in case the FS turns out to be positive. The sensitivity of FS has been reported to range from 58% to 76%, depending on tumour characteristics (e.g., tumour size) and the method of pathological examination [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. This study was designed to evaluate the benefit of FS in our hospital, with regard to the false negative rate (FNR) and true positive results, as well as the additional operation times. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aims. Intraoperative analysis of the sentinel lymph node (SLN) by frozen section (FS) allows for immediate axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in case of metastatic disease in patients with breast cancer. The aim of this study is to evaluate the benefit of intraoperative FS, with regard to false negative rate (FNR) and influence on operation time. Materials and Methods. Intraoperative analysis of the SLN by FS was performed on 628 patients between January 2005 and October 2009. Patients were retrospectively studied. Results. FS accurately predicted axillary status in 525 patients (83.6%). There were 78 true positive findings (12.4%), of which there are 66 macrometastases (84.6%), 2 false positive findings (0.3%), and 101 false negative findings (16.1%), of which there are 65 micrometastases and isolated tumour cells (64.4%) resulting in an FNR of 56.4%. Additional operation time of a secondary ALND after wide local excision and SLNB is 17 minutes, in case of ablative surgery 35 minutes. The SLN was negative in 449 patients (71.5%), making their scheduled operation time unnecessary. Conclusions. FS was associated with a high false negative rate (FNR) in our population, and the use of telepathology caused an increase in this rate. Only 12.4% of the patients benefited from intraoperative FS, as secondary ALND could be avoided, so FS may be indicated for a selected group of patients.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013
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    • "The detection of sentinel lymph node (SLN) metastases in breast cancer patients is conventionally determined by intra-operative histopathological examination of frozen sections or touch imprints. The application of these methods , however, is limited due to their rather low sensitivity, especially with respect to detection of micrometastases and invasive lobular cancer (Van de Vrande et al. 2009; Tew et al. 2005; Motumura et al. 2000). In addition, the preparation of frozen sections can lead to tissue loss (Layfield et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this single-center study was to determine the practicability of the intra-operative use of one-step nucleic acid amplification (OSNA) as the only method for detection of SLN. The OSNA system has been well described and is supposed to be as accurate as conventional histology. Three hundred and thirty SLNs from 143 breast cancer patients were analyzed in an intra-operative setting. The CK19-copy number was determined by OSNA and divided into 3 results ("-" no metastasis; "+" micrometastasis; "++" marcometastasis). If OSNA gave a positive result, an axillary lymph node dissection was carried out during the same session. The central 1-mm slice of each node was obtained for permanent histology. Additionally, the results were correlated to clinicopathological factors, and the time for the intra-operative use was evaluated. Thirty-nine of the 143 patients were OSNA positive, 22 with macrometastatic and 17 with micrometastatic spread. The mean time for the OSNA run with one SLN was 34.4 min. We could show a correlation between the tumor size and OSNA positivity as well as between the numbers of OSNA positive SLNs with the tumor load of associated non-SLNs. Furthermore, we found that a cutoff CK19 copy number of 7,900/μL indicates a positive non-SLN result with the highest sensitivity (91 %) and specificity (61 %). We found OSNA to be very helpful for the intra-operative determination of the tumor load of a SLN as a basis for decision-making concerning further surgical axillary intervention. OSNA allows precise differentiation of micro- from macrometastasis, and the CK19 copy number predicts the probability of tumor load in other axillary lymph nodes and might help to find adequate adjuvant treatment options. This objective method is well suitable for everyday use and may reduce the pathologic workload and the risk of secondary operative interventions with all associated costs and stress for the patients.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
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    • "For frozen section without IHC, previous studies have found sensitivities of 36–95.8% [8–12], accuracies of 83–96% [8, 9, 12, 13], and negative predictive values of 81–98% [9, 10, 14]. Corresponding values for frozen section with IHC and IHC alone have been 83–92% (sensitivity) [13–16], 92.2–97.5% (accuracy) [11, 13, 15], and 86–95.2% "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. The feasibility and accuracy of immunohistochemistry (IHC) on frozen sections, when assessing sentinel node (SN) status intraoperatively in breast cancer, is a matter of continuing discussion. In this study, we compared a center using IHC on frozen section with a center not using this method with focus on intraoperative diagnostic values. Material and Methods. Results from 336 patients from the centre using IHC intraoperatively were compared with 343 patients from the center not using IHC on frozen section. Final evaluation on paraffin sections with haematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining supplemented with cytokeratin staining was used as gold standard. Results. Significantly more SN with isolated tumor cells (ITCs) and micrometastases (MICs) were found intraoperatively when using IHC on frozen sections. There was no significant difference in the number of macrometastases (MACs) found intraoperatively. IHC increased the sensitivity, the negative predictive value, and the accuracy of the intraoperative evaluation of SN without decreasing the specificity and positive predictive value of SN evaluation. Conclusions. IHC on frozen section leads to the detection of more ITC and MIC intraoperatively. As axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) is performed routinely in some countries when ITC and MIC are found in the SN, IHC on frozen section provides valuable information that can lead to fewer secondary ALNDs.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Pathology Research International
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