Intraoperative touch preparation for sentinel lymph node biopsy: A 4-year experience

Ronda S. Henry-Tillman, Soheila Korourian, Isabel T. Rubio, Anita T. Johnson, Anne T. Mancino, Nicole Massol, Lanette F. Smith, Kent C. Westbrook, V. Suzanne Klimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background: The optimal technique for intraoperative pathologic examination of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) is still controversial. Recent small series report sensitivity between 60% and 100% for various techniques. The aim of this study was to evaluate our long-term experience with touch preparation cytology (TPC) and frozen section (FS) in the intraoperative examination of SLNs for breast cancer. Methods: A total of 247 patients with operable breast cancer underwent an SLN biopsy for staging of the axilla. The SLN was identified by 99mTc-labeled sulfur colloid unfiltered dye, blue dye, or both and dissected, and then intraoperative TPC or FS and permanent section, or both, were performed. Results: A total of 479 SLNs were submitted for TPC and permanent hematoxylin and eosin. A total of 68 SLNs were positive by hematoxylin and eosin; 65 SLNs were positive by TPC, with a false-negative rate of 5.8%. The sensitivity for TPC was 94.2%, with a false-positive rate of 0.2%. A total of 165 SLNs were submitted for FS, with a sensitivity of 85.7% and a specificity of 98.6%. The false-positive rate was 1.4%, with a false-negative rate of 15.8%. Conclusions: In a large series, TPC is as accurate as FS but is simpler and faster in the detection of intraoperative metastasis in SLNs for breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-339
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Accuracy
  • Breast cancer
  • Frozen section
  • Sentinel lymph node
  • Touch preparation cytology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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