Clinical evaluation of axillar lymph nodes compared to surgical and pathological findings

Eur J Surg Oncol. 1986 Jun;12(2):169-73.


Reviewing the axillar lymph node status in 196 consecutive breast cancer patients and comparing clinical assessment to pathological findings, the author found an overall erroneous appraisal of 39% with 45% false negative and 29% false positive cases. In more than 15% of the cases there were skip metastases. In the T1 group, stratification to the greatest diameter of the tumor gave a significant difference (P less than 0.01) between axillar LNI in tumours smaller or equal to 1 cm and those with a diameter between 1 and 2 cm. Lymph node metastases in the interpectoral space is extremely rare (less than 0.5%) and always macroscopic. Axillar lymph nodes were always invaded in T4 tumours. The author warns against clinical studies based upon clinical assessment of the axillar lymph node status. He advocates a complete axillar lymph node dissection in all cases. He suggests that the T1 classification should be restricted to tumours with a diameter smaller or equal to 1 cm.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology*
  • Prognosis