Objective: To analyze the role of core needle biopsy of axillary lymph nodes with suspected metastases from breast cancer and to correlate the imaging and histologic findings.
Material and methods: We retrospectively studied 74 patients diagnosed with breast cancer who underwent ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy of axillary lymph nodes with characteristics suggestive of metastases on ultrasonography. The following ultrasonographic findings were considered suspicious for metastases: cortical thickening and changes in the hilar fat and/or non-hilar cortical vascular flow. Patients with negative findings after axillary biopsy underwent sentinel node biopsy.
Results: Core needle biopsy confirmed lymph node metastases in 47 (63.5%) patients. The 27 patients (36.5%) with negative findings after lymph node biopsy underwent sentinel node biopsy; 3 (11%) of these had a positive sentinel lymph node and underwent axillary lymph node resection. Of the 50 lymph nodes with metastases, 44 (88%) had cortical thickening, 20 (40%) had changes in the hilar fat, and 29 (58%) had non-hilar cortical vascular flow. All biopsies of lymph nodes with both cortical thickening and non-hilar cortical vascular flow were positive, yielding a 100% positive predictive value in this series.
Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy of axillary lymph nodes that are suspicious for metastases from breast cancer at ultrasonography is a highly effective procedure that has low morbidity. Findings of cortical thickening and non-hilar cortical vascular flow in the same lymph node yield a positive predictive value of 100% in this series.
Copyright © 2010 SERAM. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.