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Zavagno, Giorgio and Carcoforo, Paolo and Marconato, Renato and Franchini, Zeno and Scalco, Giuliano and Burelli, Paolo and Pietrarota, paolo and Lise, Mario and Mencarelli, Roberto and Capitanio, Giovanni and Ballarin, Andrea and Pierobon, Maria Elena and Marconato, Mario and Nitti, Donato (2005) Role of axillary sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with pure ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast. [Online journal papers]

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Abstract (english)


Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is an effective tool for axillary staging in patients with invasive breast cancer. This procedure has been recently proposed as part of the treatment for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), because cases of undetected invasive foci and nodal metastases occasionally occur. However, the indications for SLN biopsy in DCIS patients are controversial.

The aim of the present study was therefore to assess the incidence of SLN metastases in a series of patients with a diagnosis of pure DCIS.


A retrospective evaluation was made of a series of 102 patients who underwent SLN biopsy, and had a final histologic diagnosis of pure DCIS. Patients with microinvasion were excluded from the analysis. The patients were operated on in five Institutions between 1999 and 2004.

Subdermal or subareolar injection of 30–50 MBq of 99 m-Tc colloidal albumin was used for SLN identification. All sentinel nodes were evaluated with serial sectioning, haematoxylin and eosin staining, and immunohistochemical analysis for cytocheratin.


Only one patient (0.98%) was SLN positive. The primary tumour was a small micropapillary intermediate-grade DCIS and the SLN harboured a micrometastasis. At pathologic revision of the specimen, no detectable focus of microinvasion was found.

Our findings indicate that SLN metastases in pure DCIS are a very rare occurrence. SLN biopsy should not therefore be routinely performed in patients who undergo resection for DCIS. SLN mapping can be performed, as a second operation, in cases in which an invasive component is identified in the specimen. Only DCIS patients who require a mastectomy should have SLN biopsy performed at the time of breast operation, since in these cases subsequent node mapping is not feasible.

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EPrint type:Online journal papers
Anno di Pubblicazione:2005
Key Words:cancer, carcinoma, nodal metastases
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 06 - Scienze mediche > MED/06 Oncologia medica
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > pre 2012 - Dipartimento di Scienze Oncologiche e Chirurgiche
Codice ID:1259
Depositato il:09 Dec 2008
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