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Breast. 2008 Aug;17(4):395-400. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2008.03.003. Epub 2008 May 12.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy in women with pT1a or "microinvasive" breast cancer.

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Department of Surgery, San Giovanni-Addolorata Hospital, Via Amba Aradam 4, 00184 Rome, Italy.


The role of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in pT1a and "microinvasive" breast cancer has not been extensively studied. We report our experience with SLNB in patients with "minimal" breast cancer to determine the incidence and type of SLN metastases, and to study the potential impact on their surgical or oncological management. Among some 3387 women operated upon for primary breast cancer who underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy at nine institutions participating in the Rome Breast Cancer Study Group, 251 were staged pT1a or pT1mic (7.4%). There were 13 cases of sentinel lymph node metastases identified in this group of patients (5.2%), seven macrometastases and six micrometastases. Additionally, ITC were diagnosed by immunohistochemistry in four cases (1.6%). The incidence of SLN metastases was 7/174 (4%) and 6/77 (7.8%) in patients with pT1a and pT1mic tumors, respectively (p=0.2). Age and histological grade were predictive factors for SLN metastases. Chemotherapy was seldom directed by axillary node status (8/38 patients). As the incidence of SLN metastases in these patients is very small, particularly in the pT1a group, the indications for even a minimally invasive procedure, such as sentinel lymph node biopsy, should be probably individualized.

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