Background: Feasibility and accuracy of sentinel node biopsy (SLNB) after the delivery of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) is controversial. We here report our experience in NAC-treated patients with locally advanced breast cancer and clinically positive axillary nodes, and compare it with the results from our previous randomized trial assessing SLNB in early-stage breast cancer patients. Patients and methods: Sixty-four consecutive patients with large infiltrating tumor and clinically positive axillary nodes received NAC and subsequent lymphatic mapping, SLNB and complete axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). The status of the sentinel lymph node (SLN) was compared to that of the axilla. Results: At least one SLN was identified in 60 of the 64 patients (93.8%). Among those 60 patients, 37 (61.7%) had one or more positive SLN(s) and 23 (38.3%) did not. Two of the patients with negative SLN(s) presented metastases in other non-sentinel nodes. SLNB thus had a false-negative rate, a negative predictive value and an overall accuracy of 5.1%, 91.3% and 96.7%, respectively. All these values were similar to those we reported for SLNB in the settings of early-stage breast cancer. Conclusion: SLNB after NAC is safe and feasible in patients with locally advanced breast cancer and clinically positive nodes, and accurately predicts the status of the axilla.
- Axillary lymph node dissection
- Locally advanced breast cancer
- Lymphatic mapping
- Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy
- Sentinel node biopsy
ASJC Scopus subject areas