Selective analysis of the sentinel node in breast cancer

Emmanuel E. Zervos, Brian D. Badgwell, Shahab F. Abdessalam, William B. Farrar, Michael J. Walker, Lisa D. Yee, William E. Burak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: This study was designed to determine the minimum number of sentinel nodes necessary to accurately stage patients with breast cancer. Methods: Between August 1997 and February 2001, 509 consecutive patients were enrolled in a prospective sentinel node database. Nodes were characterized as either blue or hot (>2 times background), or both, and ranked based on the order harvested. Predictive value of the sentinel node based on these characteristics was evaluated to determine the minimum number necessary to stage the basin. Results: In all, 990 sentinel nodes were harvested from 465 basins. Pathologic stage in 126 of 128 positive basins was predicted by the first or second node harvested. The remaining 2 patients were positive by immunohistochemistry only. The hottest node predicted the status in 114 of 128 basins. Conclusions: Although all nodes should be examined, these data suggest that limiting frozen section analysis to the first two sentinel nodes identified will not compromise the accuracy of staging and may provide a vehicle for resource savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-376
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Lymphatic mapping
  • Sentinel node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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