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Minerva Chirurgica 2005 August;60(4):235-42


language: Italian

Sentinel node in the surgical treatment of the breast cancer. Technique and clinical experience

Freda F., Fabbrocile G., Antropoli M., Manganiello A., Nunziata L., Petronella P.


Aim. It is very important to confirm the reliability of the sentinel node (SN) technique in breast cancer surgery, since it can avoid useless traumas, wide mutilations, prolongation of the operation. The aim of the study is to give a contribution to evaluate the real value of SN as regards axillary lymph nodes, in breast cancer, in order to limit axillary lymphadenectomy (AL).
Methods. The search of LS was made in 42 patients (using Patent Blue alone in 5 cases, with radioisotope in 25 cases and with both techniques in 12 cases); their mean age was 62 years and they were suffering from not multicentric infiltrating carcinoma of the breast, with a diameter less than the 2.5 cm and no evidence of axillary gland at clinical examination. All the patients underwent histologic examination of SN and AL was carried out, whatever was the histologic result of SN.
Results. Lymphoscintigraphy identified the SN in 96% of the cases (1 case with no identification in a patient with a previous excisional biopsy), with the Patent Blue in 80% of the cases and with the combined technique in 100% of the cases. The average number of SN obtained was 3 and the number of removed lymph nodes in AL was 25. The metastatisation of SN was verified in 10 cases, in 3 of them the SN turned out to be the only one interested by metastasis. In 1 case the intraoperative examination was negative and the postoperative one was positive. The percentage of false-negative was 5% (1 case with lymphoscintigraphy and 1 case with Patent Blue). These findings show that in about 70% of the patients AL could be avoided since axillary lymph nodes were without metastases. The predictive role of SN, particularly with lymphoscintigraphy, proved to be reliable with a very reduced number of false-negative.
Conclusion. In our opinion, the SN technique can be considered reliable but it could be used in routine practice when all false-positive can be avoided, since even if not very numerous they represent the principal obstacle to its application.

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