Sentinel node biopsy in elderly breast cancer patients

Roberto Gennari, Nicole Rotmensz, Elisa Perego, Gabriela Dos Santos, Umberto Veronesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Even if an increasing body of data suggests that sentinel node biopsy is a safe and accurate method of screening the axillary nodes for metastasis, there is a tendency to perform less extensive or no axillary surgery in older breast cancer women. The aim of this study therefore was to assess the safety of the procedure as well as the rate of axillary recurrences after sentinel node biopsy in this older population. Methods: Between May 1997 and March 2003, 241 consecutive elderly patients (≥70 years) with operable breast cancer up to 3 cm and clinically negative axillary lymph nodes were entered into this study. Sentinel node was identified using 5-10 MBq of 99mTc-labeled colloidal particles and examined with immediate complete intraoperative frozen-section. Results: The sentinel node identification rate was 100%. Ninety-seven percent of the patients underwent breast-conserving surgery. In 90 out of 241 patients (37.3%) the sentinel node was positive for metastasis and complete axillary dissection was immediately performed. In 56.7% of these patients the sentinel node was the only lymph node involved. Micrometastasis in the sentinel node was detected in 30 of the 90 (33.3%) patients. A total of 151 patients (62.7%) were sentinel node negative and no further surgical treatment was done. There were no axillary recurrences at a median followup of 29.7 months (range 3-87 months). The overall survival of this group of patients was 97.9%. Conclusions: Sentinel node biopsy is a safe and accurate method of screening the axillary nodes for elderly women with operable breast cancer less than 3 cm. The absence of axillary recurrences after sentinel node biopsy without complete axillary dissection supports the hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-196
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Oncology
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Elderly patients
  • Lymphoscintigraphy
  • Sentinel node biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Surgery

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