Sentinel lymph node biopsy in breast cancer--is lymphoscintigraphy really necessary?

European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology

PubMedID: 12356023

Upponi SS, McIntosh SA, Wishart GC, Balan KK, Purushotham AD. Sentinel lymph node biopsy in breast cancer--is lymphoscintigraphy really necessary?. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2002;28(5):479-80.
The role of lymphoscintigraphy in sentinel node biopsy in breast cancer remains debatable. This study assesses the value of lymphoscintigraphy in axillary sentinel node biopsy in women undergoing surgery for breast cancer. Sixty-two patients underwent sentinel node biopsy using a combination of technetium-labelled nanocolloid, lympho-scintigraphy and patent blue dye. Lymphoscintigraphy was successful in 84% of patients. Axillary sentinel nodes were identified intraoperatively in all these patients. Internal mammary nodes were identified on lymphoscintigraphy in 19%. Despite lymphoscintigraphy being unsuccessful in 10 patients, axillary sentinel nodes were found intraoperatively in eight of these patients. Lymphoscintigraphy did not increase the detection rate of axillary sentinel nodes and a negative scan did not preclude identification of an axillary sentinel node intraoperatively. This study questions the contribution of lymphoscintigraphy in axillary sentinel node biopsy, however its value may lie in the detection of extra-axillary nodes.