Predicting of sentinel lymph node status in breast cancer patients with clinically negative nodes: A validation study.

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In the absence of lymph node abnormalities detectable on clinical examination or imaging, the guidelines provide for the dissection of the first axillary draining lymph nodes during surgery. It is not always possible to arrive at surgery without diagnostic doubts, and machine learning algorithms can support clinical decisions. The web calculator CancerMath (CM) allows you to estimate the probability of having positive lymph nodes valued on the basis of tumor size, age, histologic type, grading, expression of estrogen receptor, and progesterone receptor. We collected 993 patients referred to our institute with clinically negative results characterized by sentinel lymph node status, prognostic factors defined by CM, and also human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and Ki-67. Area Under the Curve (AUC) values obtained by the online CM application were comparable with those obtained after training its algorithm on our database. Nevertheless, by training the CM model on our dataset and using the same feature, we reached a sensitivity median value of 72%, whereas the online one was equal to 46%, despite a specificity reduction. We found that the addition of the prognostic factors Her2 and Ki67 could help improve performances on the classification of particular types of patients with the aim of reducing as much as possible the false positives that lead to axillary dissection. As showed by our experimental results, it is not particularly suitable for use as a support instrument for the prediction of metastatic lymph nodes on clinically negative patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number352
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 19 2021


  • CancerMath
  • Clinically negative lymph node
  • Decision support system
  • Early breast cancer
  • OSNA
  • Sentinel lymph node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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