Comparison of [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept and filtered [(99m)Tc]sulfur colloid for identification of SLNs in breast cancer patients

Ann Surg Oncol. 2015 Jan;22(1):40-5. doi: 10.1245/s10434-014-3892-2. Epub 2014 Jul 29.


Background: The efficacy of sentinel lymph node (SLN) surgery requires targeted removal of first-draining nodes; however, frequently more nodes are removed than necessary. [(99m)Tc]tilmanocept (TcTM) is a molecular-targeted radiopharmaceutical specifically designed for SLN mapping. We evaluated technical outcomes of SLN biopsy in breast cancer patients mapped with TcTM + vital blue dye (VBD) versus filtered [(99m)Tc]sulfur colloid (fTcSC) + VBD.

Methods: There were 84 versus 115 patients in the TcTM versus fTcSC cohorts, respectively. Main measures were the number of SLNs removed per patient and factors influencing number of nodes removed. We also evaluated whether the radiotracer injected affected the proportion of positive nodes removed in node-positive patients.

Results: Fewer nodes were removed among patients mapped with TcTM compared to fTcSC (mean TcTM: 1.85 vs. fTcSC: 3.24, p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis adjusted for tumor characteristics showed that injection of fTcSC (p < 0.001) independently predicted removal of greater than 3 nodes. A similar proportion of patients was identified as node-positive, whether mapped with TcTM or with fTcSC (TcTM: 24 % vs. fTcSC: 17 %, p = 0.3); however, TcTM detected a greater proportion of positive nodes among node-positive patients compared with fTcSC (0.73 vs. 0.43, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Patients undergoing SLN biopsy with TcTM required fewer SLNs to identify the same rate of node-positive patients compared with fTcSC in breast cancer patients with similar risk of axillary metastatic disease. These data suggest that a molecularly targeted mechanism of SLN identification may reduce the total number of nodes necessary for accurate axillary staging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / surgery
  • Dextrans*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / surgery
  • Mannans*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sulfur Colloid*


  • Dextrans
  • Mannans
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • technetium-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid-mannosyl-dextran
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sulfur Colloid
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate