Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) without further axillary dissection in patients with sentinel node-negative breast carcinoma appears to be a safe procedure to ensure locoregional control. During a median follow-up of 35 months the false-negative rate was 1% in our study population of 185 patients.
Background. The objective of this prospective study is to provide data on follow-up of patients with primary operable breast carcinoma staged with SLNB without axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) if the sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) were tumour-negative.
Methods. One hundred and eighty-five patients were enrolled. Preoperative dynamic and static lymphoscintigraphy were performed; both a vital blue dye and a gamma detection probe were used intraolperatively. Patients with tumour-positive SLNs received completion ALND or if no SLNs could be identified. All patients were monitored according to regional follow-up protocols.
Results. The SLNs were identified in 179 out of the 185 patients. In 73 patients the SLNs were tumour-positive and in 106 patients tumour-negative. The median follow-up was 35 months (range 17-59). In one SLN-negative patient an axillary recurrence occurred 26 months after the SLNB (false-negative rate: 1%).
Conclusions. SLNB without ALND appears to be a safe procedure to ensure locoregional control in SLN-negative breast carcinoma, if carried out by an experienced team. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All, rights reserved.