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Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia

Print version ISSN 0100-7203On-line version ISSN 1806-9339


XAVIER, Nilton Leite et al. Sentinel lymph node detection in breast cancer: comparison between methods. Rev. Bras. Ginecol. Obstet. [online]. 2002, vol.24, n.7, pp.479-484. ISSN 0100-7203.

Purpose: to evaluate the lymphoscintigraphy, the hand-held probe and the vital blue dye to identify the sentinel lymph node (SLN) in breast carcinoma and to establish sensitivity, negative predictive value (NPV) and overall accuracy of the SLN detection. Methods: eighty-eight consecutive attended patients, with clinically negative axillary lymph nodes were enrolled for this study using the technique of mapping with 99mtechnetium dextran for scintigraphic images before surgery. In the operating room, five minutes before axillary incision, we injected 2 mL of 2.5% Bleu Patente V Sodique around the tumor and intradermally. Then the gamma probe helped to find out the hot spot where the SLN was supposed to be. The pathologic results of SLN were obtained by the standard technique with hematoxylin and eosin staining in seventy-seven patients. Results: scintigraphy was conclusive for lymphatic basins in 62.1% of 58 cases, concerning SLN identification. In these conclusive patients, there were 9 in which 2 nodes appeared simultaneously without lymph vessel delineation. Using the gamma probe, at least one axillary SLN site could be found preoperatively in 45 cases (84.9%), and intraoperatively, associated with blue dye, in all 53 patients. In 32 of 35 patients only vital blue dye was used with success. Concerning the groups "day" and "other day" (when biopsy was performed on the same day or the other day, after the radiolabeled injection), therefore different regarding time and gamma counts, both achieved the same results regarding SLN detection. Forty-one patients had positive axillary lymph nodes and only two had false negative SLN, giving sensitivity of 95.3%, a NPV of 95.5% and overall accuracy of 97.7%. Conclusions: the lymph node mapping with the use of technetium and patent blue V, alone or associated, is feasible. The time since the injection of technetium up to surgery varied from 3 to 17 h. The pathologic findings confirmed that the biopsied lymph node was the true sentinel node in 97.6% of the cases and validated the SLN mapping, and this should lead to an avoidance of complete axillary dissection as a routine procedure in patients with negative SLN.

Keywords : Breast cancer; Lymphadenectomy; Axillary metastases; Sentinel lymph node.

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