Background: Sentinel lymph node (SLN) surgery is used worldwide for staging breast cancer patients and helps limit axillary lymph node dissection. [(99m)Tc]Tilmanocept is a novel receptor-targeted radiopharmaceutical evaluated in 2 open-label, nonrandomized, within-patient, phase 3 trials designed to assess the lymphatic mapping performance.
Methods: A total of 13 centers contributed 148 patients with breast cancer. Each patient received [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept and vital blue dye (VBD). Lymph nodes identified intraoperatively as radioactive and/or blue stained were excised and histologically examined. The primary endpoint, concordance (lower boundary set point at 90 %), was the proportion of nodes detected by VBD and [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept.
Results: A total of 13 centers contributed 148 patients who were injected with both agents. Intraoperatively, 207 of 209 nodes detected by VBD were also detected by [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept for a concordance rate of 99.04 % (p < 0.0001). [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept detected a total of 320 nodes, of which 207 (64.7 %) were detected by VBD. [(99m)Tc]Tilmanocept detected at least 1 SLN in more patients (146) than did VBD (131, p < 0.0001). In 129 of 131 patients with ≥1 blue node, all blue nodes were radioactive. Of 33 pathology-positive nodes (18.2 % patient pathology rate), [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept detected 31 of 33, whereas VBD detected only 25 of 33 (p = 0.0312). No pathology-positive SLNs were detected exclusively by VBD. No serious adverse events were attributed to [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept.
Conclusion: [(99m)Tc]Tilmanocept demonstrated success in detecting a SLN while meeting the primary endpoint. Interestingly, [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept was additionally noted to identify more SLNs in more patients. This localization represented a higher number of metastatic breast cancer lymph nodes than that of VBD.