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Sentinel Lymph Node Identification in Patients With Breast Cancer Using Lymphosonography

      Abstract

      The objective of the work described here was to evaluate the efficacy of lymphosonography in identifying sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) in patients with breast cancer undergoing surgical excision. Of the 86 individuals enrolled, 79 completed this institutional review board–approved study. Participants received subcutaneous 1.0-mL injections of ultrasound contrast agent (UCA) around the tumor. An ultrasound scanner with contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) capabilities was used to identify SLNs. Participants were administered with blue dye and radioactive tracer to guide SLN excision as standard-of-care. Excised SLNs were classified as positive or negative for the presence of blue dye, radioactive tracer and UCA, and sent for pathology. Two hundred fifty-two SLNs were excised; 158 were positive for blue dye, 222 were positive for radioactive tracer and 223 were positive for UCA. Comparison with blue dye revealed accuracies of 96.2% for radioactive tracer and 99.4% for lymphosonography (p > 0.15). Relative to radioactive tracer, blue dye had an accuracy of 68.5%, and lymphosonography achieved 86.5% (p < 0.0001). Of 252 SLNs excised, 34 were determined to be malignant by pathology; 18 were positive for blue dye (detection rate = 53%), 23 for radioactive tracer (detection rate = 68%) and 34 for UCA (detection rate = 100%) (p < 0.0001). Lymphosonography was similar in accuracy to radioactive tracer and higher in accuracy than blue dye in identifying SLNs. All 34 malignant SLNs were identified by lymphosonography.

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