Sentinel node biopsy in male breast cancer

Concetta De Cicco, Silvia M. Baio, Paolo Veronesi, Giuseppe Trifirò, Antonio Ciprian, Annarita Vento, Joel Rososchansky, Giuseppe Viale, Giovanni Paganelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Male breast cancer is a rare disease and axillary status is the most important prognostic indicator. Lymphoscintigraphy associated with gamma-probe guided surgery has been proved to reliably detect sentinel nodes in female patients with breast cancer. This study evaluates the feasibility of the surgical identification of sentinel node by using lymphoscintigraphy and a gamma-detecting probe in male patients, in order to select subjects who would be suitable for complete axillary lymphadenectomy. Methods: Colloid human albumin labelled with 99Tc was administered to 18 male patients with breast cancer and clinically negative axillary lymph nodes. Lymphoscintigraphy was performed the day before surgery. An intraoperative gamma-detecting probe was used to identify sentinel nodes during surgery. Results: Lymphoscintigraphy and biopsy of the sentinel node were successful in all cases. A total of 20 sentinel nodes were removed. Pathological examinations showed 11 infiltrating ductal carcinomas, two intraductal carcinomas and five intracystic papillary carcinomas. Six patients (33%) had positive sentinel node (micrometastases were found in three patients). These patients underwent axillary dissection; in five of them (83%) the sentinel node was the only positive node. Twelve patients (67%) showed negative sentinel nodes; in all of them no further surgical treatments were planned. Conclusions: As in women, lymphoscintigraphy and sentinel node biopsy under the guidance of a gamma-detecting probe proved to be an easy method for the detection of sentinel nodes in male breast carcinoma. In male patients with early stage cancer, sentinel node biopsy might represent the standard surgical procedure in order to avoid unnecessary morbidity after surgery, preserving accurate staging of the disease in the axilla.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalNuclear Medicine Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


  • Breast cancer
  • Lymphoscintigraphy
  • Male
  • Sentinel node biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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