Background: Sentinel lymph node mapping (SLNM) and neoadjuvant chemotherapy are becoming established components of therapy for selected patients with breast carcinoma. However, neoadjuvant therapy has been considered a relative contraindication to SLNM. In an effort to learn whether patients who have received preoperative chemotherapy can undergo accurate SLNM, we evaluated our experience with this technique. Methods: From January 1997 to June 2000, SLNM and axillary lymph node dissection were concurrently performed in 35 patients who received preoperative chemotherapy. Mapping was performed with 99mTc sulfur colloid only in one patient and Lymphazurin dye only in 15 patients, and the two methods were combined in the remainder. Results: SLNM successfully identified a sentinel lymph node in 30 (86%) patients. Metastatic disease was identified in the sentinel lymph nodes of four patients during surgery. The intraoperative pathologic diagnosis proved to be correct in 19 (79%) of 24 patients. The final pathologic diagnosis of the sentinel lymph node reflected the status of the axillary contents in all patients in whom it was identified. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that SLNM can be consistently performed in patients receiving preoperative chemotherapy for breast cancer, suggesting the utility of this technique in this patient population.
- Axillary lymph node dissection
- Breast cancer
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
- Sentinel lymph node mapping
ASJC Scopus subject areas