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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(11):5517-23.

Diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonograph guided fine-needle aspiration cytologic in staging of axillary lymph node metastasis in breast cancer patients: a meta-analysis.

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Bao'an Maternal and Child Health Hospital, Shenzhen, China.



To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonograph and fine-needle aspiration cytologic examination (USG-FNAC) in the staging of axillary lymph node metastasis in breast cancer patients.


We conducted an electronic search of the literature addressing the performance of USG-FNAC in diagnosis of axillary lymph node metastasis in databases such as Pubmed, Medline, Embase, Ovid and Cochrane library. We introduced a series of diagnostic test indices to evaluate the performance of USG-FNAC by the random effect model (REM), including sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, and diagnostic odds ratios and area under the curve (AUC).


A total of 20 studies including 1371 cases and 1289 controls were identified. The pooled sensitivity was determined to be 0.66 (95% CI 0.64-0.69), specificity 0.98 (95% CI 0.98-0.99), positive likelihood ratio 22.7 (95% CI 15.0-34.49), negative likelihood ratio 0.32 (95% CI 0.25-0.41), diagnostic OR 84.2 (95% CI 53.3-133.0). Due to the marginal threshold effect found in some indices of diagnostic validity, we used a summary SROC curve to aggregate data, and obtained a symmetrical curve with an AUC of 0.942.


The results of this meta-analysis indicated that the USG-FNAC techniques have acceptable diagnostic validity indices and can be used for early staging of axillary lymph node in breast cancer patients.

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