Frequency of sentinel lymph node metastases in patients with favorable breast cancer histologic subtypes

Sandra L. Wong, Celia Chao, Michael J. Edwards, David J. Carlson, Alison Laidley, R. Dirk Noyes, Terre McGlothin, Philip B. Ley, Todd Tuttle, Mark Schadt, Robert Pennington, Mary Legenza, James Morgan, Kelly M. McMasters, Edward Clifford, Tom White, Suzanne Klimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: The need for axillary nodal staging in favorable histologic subtypes of breast cancer is controversial. Methods: Patients with clinical stage T1-2, N0 breast cancer were enrolled in a prospective, multi-institutional study. All patients underwent sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy followed by completion level I/II axillary dissection. Results: SLN were identified in 3,106 of 3,324 patients (93%). Axillary metastases were found in 35% and 40% of patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma and infiltrating lobular carcinoma, respectively. Among tumor subtypes, positive nodes were found in 17% of patients with pure tubular carcinoma, 7% of patients with papillary cancer, 6% of patients with colloid (mucinous) carcinoma, 21% of patients with medullary carcinoma, and 8% of patients with DCIS with microinvasion. Conclusions: Patients with favorable breast cancer subtypes have a significant rate of axillary nodal metastasis. Axillary nodal staging remains important in such patients; SLN biopsy is an ideal method to obtain this staging information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-498
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Axillary lymph node dissection
  • Breast cancer
  • Pathology
  • Sentinel node biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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