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Clin Breast Cancer. 2016 Dec;16(6):e153-e157. doi: 10.1016/j.clbc.2016.06.005. Epub 2016 Jun 14.

Can Breast Cancer Biopsy Influence Sentinel Lymph Node Status?

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Department of Radiology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Radiology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.
Department of Pathologic Anatomy, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.



We evaluated whether the needle size could influence metastasis occurrence in the axillary sentinel lymph node (SLN) in ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy (US-CNB) of breast cancer (BC).


The data from all patients with breast lesions who had undergone US-CNB at our institution from January 2011 to January 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 377 BC cases were included using the following criteria: (1) percutaneous biopsy-proven invasive BC; and (2) SLN dissection with histopathologic examination. The patients were divided into 2 groups according to the needle size used: 14 gauge versus 16 or 18 gauge. SLN metastasis classification followed the 7th American Joint Committee on Cancer (2010) TNM pathologic staging factors: macrometastases, micrometastases, isolated tumor cells, or negative. Only macrometastases and micrometastases were considered positive, and the positive and negative rates were calculated for the overall population and for both needle size groups.


Of the 377 BC cases, 268 US-CNB procedures were performed using a 14-gauge needle and 109 with a 16- or 18-gauge needle, respectively. The negative rate was significantly related statistically with the needle size, with a greater prevalence in the 14-gauge group on both extemporaneous analysis (P = .019) and definitive analysis (P = .002). The macrometastasis rate was 17% (63 of 377) for the 14-gauge and 3% (12 of 377) for the 16- and 18-gauge needles, respectively.


Our preliminary results have suggested that use of a large needle size in CNB does not influence SLN status; thus, preoperative breast biopsy can be considered a safe procedure in the diagnosis of malignant breast lesions.


Cell displacement; Dissemination; Metastases; Needle size; Ultrasound

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