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Breast. 2006 Apr;15(2):203-9. Epub 2005 Aug 1.

A four node axillary sampling trial on breast cancer patients.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Kansai Medical University, 10-15, Fumizono, Moriguchi, Osaka 570-8507, Japan. tanakkan@takii.kmu.ac.jp


The surgical management of axillary lymph nodes in early breast cancer remains controversial, although several maneuvers have been developed such as axillary node clearance (ANC), four node axillary sampling (4NAS), and sentinel node biopsy. A total of 237 cases of primary breast cancer at stages I and II were studied prospectively to elucidate the correlation between 4NAS and ANC. All calculated values by 4NAS showed high sensitivity, specificity, and overall accuracy as follows in this study: 92.9%, 100% and 98.5% for stage I, and 93.8%, 100% and 98.3% for stage II. Likewise, the false negative (FN) rates were 7.1% for stage I, 6.3% for stage II, 6.7% for T1, 6.4% for T2, 7.4% for N0, 0% for N1, and 6.5% for all cases. These rates were very low, although 7.4% for N0 and 0% for N1 were quite clearly different. This implies that all FN cases were N0, and were caused by micrometastases with normal consistency and size. 4NAS may be as accurate a procedure as ANC in assessing axillary nodal stage.

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