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Radiologists May Help Guide Surgical Course for Breast Cancer Patients

January 15, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging
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Using preoperative sonography to evaluate axillary lymph node classification in breast cancer patients can help predict the spread of cancer and may reduce the need for sentinel node biopsy, Korean researchers have found. Their work appears in the December 2009 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

In the study, researchers analyzed 191 sentinel lymph nodes in 191 women with invasive breast cancer. Lab results after surgery showed that 21 percent had nodal metastasis. A cutoff point of 2.5 mm of cortical thickness showed a preop sensitivity of 85 percent, a specificity of 78 percent, a negative-predictive value of 95 percent, and a positive-predictive value of 51 percent. Wire-localized nodules had a false-negative rate of 24 percent, indicating that the cancer had spread to at least one lymph node identified by sonography as the sentinel node. Ninety percent of the nodes that were wire localized by ultrasound as the sentinel node corresponded with radio-localized nodes.

“The findings in this study are quite remarkable,” said Basil Hubbi, MD, in a review of the study. The research suggests the radiologist can “further help guide the patient’s surgical course” and possibly reduce the need for sentinel node biopsy, Hubbi added.

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Related Seminar: Breast and Women’s Imaging

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