Original Article

Sentinel Node Biopsy in Special Histologic Types of Invasive Breast Cancer


  • Montserrat Solà
  • Mireia Recaj
  • Eva Castellà
  • Pere Puig
  • Josep Maria Gubern
  • Juan Francisco Julian
  • Manel Fraile

Received Date: 29.01.2016 Accepted Date: 07.03.2016 Eur J Breast Health 2016;12(2):78-82


To assess the feasibility of sentinel node biopsy (SNB) in ductal and lobular invasive breast cancer, a group of tumors known as special histologic type (SHT) of breast cancer.

Materials and Methods:

Between January 1997 and July 2008, 2253 patients from 6 affiliated hospitals underwent SNB who had early breast cancer and clinically negative axilla. The patients’ data were collected in a multicenter database. For lymphatic mapping, all patients received an intralesional dose of radiocolloid Tc-99m (4mCi in 0.4 mL saline), at least two hours before the surgical procedure. SNB was performed by physicians from the same nuclear medicine department in all cases.


Of the 2253 patients in the database, the SN identification rate was 94.5% (no radiotracer migration in 123 patients), and positive sentinel node prevalence was 22%. SHT was reported in 144 patients (6.4%) of the whole series. In this subgroup, migration of radiotracer was unsuccessful in 8 patients (identification rate was 94.4%) and SNs were positive in 7.4%. SN positivity prevalence in these tumors was variable across the subtypes. Higher probability of lymphatic spread seemed to be related to tumor invasiveness (20% of positivity in micropapillary, 15% in cribriform subtypes, and 0% in adenoid-cystic).


Sentinel node biopsy is feasible in special histologic subtypes of breast carcinoma with a good identification rate. Lower migration rates, however, might be associated with special histologic features (colloid subtype). Complete axillary dissection after a positive sentinel node cannot be omitted in patients with SHT breast cancer because they can be associated with further axillary disease; the reported very low incidence of axillary metastases would justify avoiding axillary dissection only in the adenoid-cystic subtype.

Keywords: Sentinel lymph node biopsy, breast cancer, invasiveness