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Breast Care (Basel). 2016 Apr;11(2):128-32. doi: 10.1159/000445368. Epub 2016 Apr 26.

The Role of Blue Dye in Sentinel Node Detection for Breast Cancer: A Retrospective Study of 203 Patients.

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Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.



We aimed at examining the potential benefits of blue dye in sentinel node biopsy (SNB) in comparison with its proven drawbacks.


In 2007, 203 T1 primary breast carcinomas had been operated on in our institute. The patients had undergone a lumpectomy and SNB. Sentinel node (SN) detection was exclusively isotopic (ISO) in 77 patients and performed with blue dye combined with a radioactive isotope (COMBI) in 126 patients. We compared the number of SNs and the rate of SN positivity in both groups.


The detection rate was 99% in both groups: 76/77 in the ISO group and 125/126 in the COMBI group. The mean number of SNs was 2.14 and 1.91 in the ISO group and the COMBI group, respectively (difference not significant (NS)). SN positivity was found in 26.1% and 24.6% in the ISO group and the COMBI group, respectively (NS). Only 1 SN had been removed in 26% of the patients in the ISO group versus 45.2% of the patients in the COMBI group (p = 0.004). No significant differences were observed in the tumor characteristics.


The systematic use of patent blue dye combined with isotopic detection does not appear to increase the overall performance of the SNB technique in this retrospective study.


Blue dye; Breast cancer; Mapping; Radiolabeled colloid; Sentinel lymph node; Surgery

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