Effect of radiotracer injection volume on the success of sentinel node biopsy in early-stage breast cancer patients

Nucl Med Commun. 2013 Jul;34(7):660-3. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e3283619d07.


Objective: The volume of radiotracer to be injected for sentinel node mapping is a controversial issue in breast cancer patients. In the current study, we evaluated the effect of radiotracer injection volume on the success rate of sentinel node mapping in early-stage breast cancer patients.

Materials and methods: A total of 383 patients with early-stage breast cancer (cN0) were included in the study. The patients received an intradermal injection of Tc-antimony sulfide colloid for sentinel node mapping. The volume of injection was 0.1 ml for 102 patients, 0.2 ml for 221 patients, 0.5 ml for 30 patients, and 1 ml for 30 patients. The detection rate of the sentinel nodes during surgery was compared between the different injection volume groups.

Results: The overall detection rate was 93.9%. Detection rates were 95.1, 95, 90, and 86.7% for 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, and 1 ml volumes, respectively, which did not show a statistically significant difference despite minimal decrease in detection at higher volumes (P=0.214). The time of sentinel node visualization was not statistically different between the studied groups either (P=0.65).

Conclusion: Increasing the volume of radiotracer in intradermal injections does not have a statistically significant effect on the sentinel node detection rate (despite minimal decrease in detection at higher volumes), nor on the time of sentinel node visualization. A low volume (0.1 ml) of radiotracer for intradermal injections can be as successful as higher volumes for sentinel node mapping with the added benefit of reduced pain from injections.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radioactive Tracers
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / methods*


  • Radioactive Tracers