Role of sentinel lymph node biopsy in high-risk ductal carcinoma in situ patients

Am J Surg. 2007 Aug;194(2):172-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.11.027.


Background: The role of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is poorly defined. However, up to 20% of patients with DCIS will have invasive carcinoma; these patients require staging for axillary metastasis. The aim of this study was to identify patients with a core biopsy diagnosis of DCIS who may benefit from SLNB.

Methods: In a prospective study, we performed SLNB on patients with a preoperative diagnosis of >2.5 cm of high-grade DCIS or DCIS when mastectomy was indicated.

Results: Sixty-two patients underwent surgery for high-grade DCIS, and 35 of these patients underwent SLNB. Postsurgical excision histology revealed invasive disease in 20 patients, 19 of whom had undergone SLNB. Before the adoption of SLNB in selected DCIS patients, all 20 with occult invasive disease would have required second surgery axillary staging (P < .01, chi-square test).

Conclusions: SLNB should not be performed routinely for all patients with an initial diagnosis of DCIS. However, selective lymphadenectomy may be a useful clinical adjuvant in selected high-risk DCIS patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy*