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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2007 Mar;33(2):153-6. Epub 2006 Nov 9.

A prospective study of use of a clinicopathological score to select patients for the type of axillary surgery.

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  • 1Russells Hall Hospital, Pensnett Road, Dudley, Stourbridge DY1 2HQ, UK.



The aim of this study was to prospectively assess a previously described and independently validated clinicopathological score for counselling and selecting patients for sentinel node biopsy or axillary clearance. The clinicopathological score is based on the size of primary tumour, grade of primary tumour, age of the patient, quadrant of the breast and lymphovascular invasion, which are all independent predictors of lymph node involvement. The clinicopathological score may assist patients to decide if they would benefit from sentinel node biopsy or axillary clearance as a primary procedure.


All patients with invasive breast cancer were counselled for the possible rate of lymph node positivity, need for a second operation and false negative rate for sentinel node biopsy. Based on a previously validated clinicopathological score (Table 1), patients with a score of 10 or below were classed as less likely to have positive lymph nodes and hence were offered for minimally invasive axillary surgery and patients with a score of 11 or above were regarded to have high risk of nodal involvement and were counselled for axillary clearance.


Only 3 of 31 patients in the low score group had axillary metastasis and needed further axillary treatment. The node positivity rate in the low score group was 10% compared to 63% for the high score group.


It is concluded that until pre-operative axillary staging becomes widely available, by using the clinicopathological score for patient's selection for minimally invasive axillary surgery, it may be possible to avoid a second axillary procedure in a large majority of patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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