The real-time intra-operative evaluation of sentinel lymph nodes in breast cancer patients using One Step Nucleic Acid Amplification (OSNA) and implications for clinical decision-making

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2014 Feb;40(2):150-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2013.12.007. Epub 2013 Dec 18.


Introduction: One Step Nucleic Acid Amplification (OSNA) method for the intraoperative analysis of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) in breast cancer, obviates a second operation to the axilla and thereby expedites progression to adjuvant therapy. Recent NICE guidelines have approved OSNA as a method of sentinel node diagnosis to support the above case.(1) METHOD: This is a single centre prospective cohort analysis of all patients undergoing breast cancer surgery including sentinel node biopsy from February 2010 to June 2012. Patients with negative SLN(s) on OSNA had no further axillary surgery. A validation phase was performed prior to using OSNA routinely. Those with micrometastases underwent a level 1 clearance, and >one SLN with macrometastases, underwent treatment by level 2 axillary dissection. The length of time from sentinel node retrieval to OSNA result was recorded.

Results: Four hundred and forty nodes were analysed in 212 patients with a mean age of 55 years (range 24-98). The sensitivity and specificity of OSNA was 93% and 94% respectively in cases of macrometastases. The process required additional median anaesthesia time of 20 min (range -48 to +65 min). Non-sentinel node positivity was 5% and 48% for micrometastasis and macrometastasis respectively.

Conclusion: OSNA identified 62 of 212 patients with at least one positive sentinel node, thereby sparing 29% from a second procedure to clear the axilla subsequently. The median waiting time of 20 min for node results from completion of breast procedure is acceptable and allows for an efficient operating list. OSNA can be incorporated into routine practice and with improved methods of imaging preoperatively, can be an excellent adjunct to the breast cancer patient pathway of care.

Keywords: Axillary dissection; Breast cancer; OSNA; Sentinel lymph node.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / surgery*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Keratin-19 / genetics
  • Lymph Node Excision / methods
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques / methods*
  • Operative Time
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Keratin-19
  • RNA, Messenger