The Clinical Significance of Sentinel Lymph Node Micrometastases in Breast Cancer

Authors: P. Strnad 1;  L. Rob 1 ;  P. Škapa 2;  H. Stankušová 3;  K. Michalová 4;  J. Chod 1
Authors‘ workplace: Gynekologicko-porodnická klinika 2. LF UK a FN Motol, Praha, přednosta doc. MUDr. Lukáš Rob, CSc. 1;  Ústav patologie a molekulární medicíny 2. LF UK a FN Motol, Praha 2;  Radioterapeuticko-onkologické oddělení 2. LF UK a FN Motol, Praha 3;  Klinika nukleární medicíny 2. LF UK a FN Motol, Praha 4
Published in: Ceska Gynekol 2008; 73(6): 360-364


The advent of sentinel lymph node biopsy and improvements in histopathological and immunohistochemical analysis has increased the rate at which micrometastases are identified. However their significance has been the subject of much debate. Published studies have reported divergent results regarding the significance and implications of axillary lymph node micrometastases. Some studies demonstrate no associations, whilst others have found these to be indicators of poor prognosis, associated with non-SLN involvement, in addition to local and distant failure. The objective of our study was to evaluate the impact of sentinel lymph node micrometastatic cancer to prognosis of the disease.

Retrospective study.

Departments of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty Hospital, Prague.

From January 2000 to December 2006 in 87 cases with sentinel axillary node negative cancer we reexamined the axillary tissue blocks by serial sectioning, haematoxilin-eosin staining and immunohistochemistry. Additional 15 cases of micrometastatic sentinel node involvement detected by frozen section were included. The overall and disease free survivals of patients with sentinel negative status (N0-67 cases) and with sentinel node micrometastases (Nmic-35 cases) were evaluated. The median follow-up was 60 months (24-96 months).

Micrometastases (Nmic) were found in 20 cases (23%). From the group of 67 nodes negative patients (N0) in 7 cases (10.5%) developed tumor recurrence and from the group of 35 Nmic in 5 cases developed five tumor recurrences (13.3%). In the group of N0 patients developed 2 regional recurrences and 3 patients died, but 2 patients died of other causes. In the group of Nmic developed one regional recurrence and 3 patients died of generalization of disease.

Our study demonstrated that the presence of sentinel node micrometastases is associated with risk of development of distant metastases and generalization of the disease, but not with higher risk of regional recurrence.

Key words:
micrometastases, sentinel lymph node, breast cancer.


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