The critical role of axillary ultrasound and aspiration biopsy in the management of breast cancer patients with clinically negative axilla.
BACKGROUND: Sonographic evaluation of the axilla can predict node status in a significant proportion of clinically node-negative patients. This review focuses on the value of ultrasound followed by ultrasound-guided cytology in assessing the need for sentinel node mapping and conservative versus complete axillary dissections. DESIGN: Breast primaries from 168 sentinel node candidates were prospectively assessed for clinicopathologic variables associated with increased incidence of axillary metastases. Patients were classified accordingly, and those at a higher risk underwent ultrasound of their axillae, followed by aspiration biopsy if needed. Sentinel node mapping was performed in all low-risk patients, and in high-risk patients with normal axillary ultrasounds or negative cytology. Final axillary status was compared in terms of nodal stage, number of positive nodes, and size of metastasis. RESULTS: 112 patients were at high risk for nodal disease (67%), with a statistically significant lower probability for remaining node-negative and a statistical significantly higher risk for having more than one positive node. All patients with more than three positive nodes were detected by ultrasound-guided cytology. High-risk patients with final positive axillae missed by ultrasound or ultrasound guided cytology had tumor deposits measuring
Hinson, JL; McGrath, P; Moore, A; Davis, JT; Brill, YM; Samoilova, E; Cibull, M; Hester, M; Romond, E; Weisinger, K; Samayoa, LM
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