Pilot sentinel node biopsy study

25 May 2001

Purpose

This work was part of an initial phase of introducing sentinel node biopsy to breast cancer surgery at Waikato Hospital.  The study commenced in 1999 and was supported by a grant from the Waikato Medical Research Foundation.

Scientific Title

Pilot study comparing the accuracy of lymphoscintigraphy sentinel lymph node localisation with axillary node dissection in women with operable breast cancer.

Background

This was a local Waikato pilot study carried out by Dr Berry Allen (Nuclear Medicine Scientist, Waikato Hospital) for his PhD thesis. Dr Allen also investigated the best radiotracer to use to identify sentinel nodes

Results

A high proportion of sentinel nodes were demonstrated by lymphoscintigraphy and were subsequently removed surgically. In this small series sentinel lymph node status correctly predicted axillary node status in 100% of patients for whom sentinel nodes were retrieved supporting the concept of sentinel node biopsy only for women with normal sentinel lymph nodes. Evidence from randomised trials that sentinel node based management does not compromise regional control of breast cancer or survival, is awaited.

Publication

Pilot study comparing the accuracy of lymphoscintigraphy sentinel node localisation with axillary node dissection in women with operable breast cancer. B. Allen, I. Campbell, S. Desai, M. Dray and J. Scarlet. New Zealand Medical Journal, 25 May, 2001