Lymphatic Mapping and Sentinel Node Biopsy in the Patient With Breast Cancer

John J. Albertini, MD; Gary H. Lyman, MD, MPH; Charles Cox, MD; Tim Yeatman, MD; Ludovico Balducci, MD; NiNi Ku, MD; Steve Shivers, PhD; Claudia Berman, MD; Karen Wells, MD; David Rapaport, MD; Alan Shons, MD; John Horton, MB, ChB; Harvey Greenberg, MD; Santo Nicosia, MD; Robert Clark, MD; Alan Cantor, PhD; Douglas S. Reintgen, MD
JAMA. 1996;276(22):1818-1822. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540220042028.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Objective.  —To identify the sentinel lymph node(s) (SLN[s]) (the first node[s] draining the primary tumor in the regional lymphatic basin) in patients with invasive breast cancer and to test the hypothesis that the histologic characteristics of the SLN predict the histologic characteristics of the remaining lymph nodes in the axilla.

Design.  —A prospective trial.

Participants.  —Sixty-two patients with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancers.

Intervention.  —Patients underwent intraoperative lymphatic mapping using a combination of a vital blue dye and filtered technetium-labeled sulfur colloid. The SLN was identified and removed, followed by a definitive cancer operation, including a complete axillary node dissection.

Main Outcome Measure.  —The metastatic distribution in the axilla was determined in patients with occult nodal disease.

Results.  —The SLN was successfully identified in 57 (92%) of 62 patients using the 2 lymphatic mapping procedures. After localization, 18 patients (32%) were found to have metastatic disease, and the SLN tested positive in all 18 patients. There were no "skip" metastases, defined as an SLN that tested negative with higher nodes that tested positive. In 12 (67%) of 18 patients with metastatic disease, the SLN was the only site of disease. The metastatic distribution significantly favored SLN involvement. Among subjects with discordant nodal involvement, the probability of observing the distribution of SLN involvement by chance is very small (P<.001).

Conclusions.  —This study confirms that lymphatic mapping is technically possible in the patient with breast cancer and that the histologic characteristics of the SLN probably reflect the histologic characteristics of the rest of the axillary lymph nodes. The procedure also allows the pathologist to focus the histologic examination on 1 or 2 nodes, potentially increasing the yield of positive dissections and the accuracy of staging.


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.