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Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia

Print version ISSN 0100-7203


PESSOA, Eduardo Carvalho et al. Axillary lymph node aspiration guided by ultrasound is effective as a method of predicting lymph node involvement in patients with breast cancer?. Rev. Bras. Ginecol. Obstet. [online]. 2014, vol.36, n.3, pp.118-123. ISSN 0100-7203.


To assess the feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of preoperative ultrasound combined with ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (US-FNA) cytology and clinical examination of axillary lymph node in patients with breast cancer.


In this prospective study, 171 axillae of patients with breast cancer were evaluated by clinical examination and ultrasonography (US) with and without fine needle aspiration (FNA). Lymph nodes with maximum ultrasonographic cortical thickness > 2.3 mm were considered suspicious and submitted to US-FNA.


Logistic regression analysis showed no statistically significant correlation between clinical examination and pathologically positive axillae. However, in axillae considered suspicious by ultrasonography, the risk of positive anatomopathological findings increased 12.6-fold. Cohen's Kappa value was 0.12 for clinical examination, 0.48 for US, and 0.80 for US-FNA. Accuracy was 61.4% for clinical examination, 73.1% for US and 90.1% for US-FA. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis demonstrated that a cortical thickness of 2.75 mm corresponded to the highest sensitivity and specificity in predicting axillary metastasis (82.7 and 82.2%, respectively).


Ultrasonography combined with fine-needle aspiration is more accurate than clinical examination in assessing preoperative axillary status in women with breast cancer. Those who are US-FNA positive can be directed towards axillary lymph node dissection straight away, and only those who are US-FNA negative should be considered for sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Keywords : Biopsy; fine needle; Breast neoplasms; Lymph nodes; Lymph nodes; Lymph nodes; Sentinel lymph node biopsy.

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