A nomogram predictive of non-sentinel lymph node involvement in breast cancer patients with a sentinel lymph node micrometastasis

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2009 Jul;35(7):690-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Nov 28.


Purpose: Predictive factors of non-sentinel lymph node (NSN) involvement at axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) have been studied in the case of sentinel node (SN) involvement, with validation of a nomogram. This nomogram is not accurate for SN micrometastasis. The purpose of our study was to determine a nomogram for predicting the likelihood of NSN involvement in breast cancer patients with a SN micrometastasis.

Methods: We collated 909 observations of SN micrometastases with additional ALND. Characteristics of the patients, tumours and SN were analysed.

Results: Involvement of SN was diagnosed 490 times (53.9%) with standard staining (HES) and 419 times solely on immunohistochemical analysis (IHC) (46.1%). NSN invasion was observed in 114 patients (12.5%), whereas 62.3% (71) had only one NSN involved and 37.7% (43) two or more NSN involved. In multivariate analysis, significant predictive factors were: tumour size (pT stage < or = 10 mm or >11 and < or = 20 or >20 mm [odds ratio (OR) 2.1 and 3.43], micrometastases detected by HES or IHC [OR 1.64], presence or absence of lymphovascular invasion (LVI) [OR 1.76], tumour histological type mixed or not [OR 2.64]. The rate and probability of NSN involvement with the model are given for 24 groups, with a representation by a nomogram.

Conclusion: One group, corresponding to 10.1% of the patients, was associated with a risk of NSN involvement of less than 5%, and five groups, corresponding to 29.8% of the patients, were associated with a risk < or = 10%. Omission of ALND could be proposed with minimal risk for a low probability of NSN involvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Nomograms*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy*