The feasibility and accuracy of sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for patients with breast carcinoma have been investigated primarily for the situation in which the radiocolloid imaging agent is injected peritumorally. No such study has involved periareolar injection of radiocolloid, although the usefulness of this injection technique has been demonstrated in patients with early-stage breast carcinoma who have not been treated with NAC. The objective of the current study was to determine the feasibility and accuracy of SLN biopsy using periareolar injection of radiocolloid for patients with breast carcinoma who were treated with NAC.
Forty-seven patients with AJCC Stage II or III breast carcinoma who were treated with NAC were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent SLN biopsy, which involved a combination of periareolar injection of radiocolloid (technetium 99m tin colloid) and peritumoral injection of isosulfan blue dye, followed by backup axillary lymph node dissection. SLN metastases were examined by hematoxylin and eosin staining and immunohistochemical analysis using an anticytokeratin antibody.
An SLN was identified successfully in 44 patients (94%). Twenty-nine patients (66%) had positive SLNs. Fifteen patients had negative SLNs, and 4 patients had positive non-SLNs. Thus, the false-negative rate was 12.1% (4 of 33 patients). The false-negative rate tended to be higher, although not statistically significantly so, among patients who had clinically positive axillary lymph nodes before and/or after NAC (15.8%; 3 of 19 patients) compared with patients who had clinically negative axillary lymph nodes both before and after NAC (7.1%; 1 of 14 patients).
SLN biopsy using periareolar injection of radiocolloid is feasible after NAC. In patients with clinically negative axillary lymph nodes both before and after NAC, SLN biopsy was capable of predicting axillary lymph node status with an accuracy comparable to the accuracy associated with SLN biopsy for patients with early-stage carcinoma who have not been treated with NAC. Cancer 2004. © 2004 American Cancer Society.