Surgery Today

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 155–160 | Cite as

Clinical significance of breast cancer micrometastasis in the sentinel lymph node

  • Kenzo Shimazu
  • Shinzaburo Noguchi
Review Article


The advantages of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in breast cancer patients include an enhanced pathological examination of a small number of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs), which permits more frequent detection of micrometastasis and isolated tumor cells (ITCs). At the same time, however, SLNB raises two new concerns: whether minimal SLN involvement has a significant impact on survival and whether patients with such minimal involvement should undergo further axillary dissections. Two large randomized studies, ACOSOG Z0011 and IBCSG 23-01, have demonstrated that axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) can be avoided for select SLN-positive patients. However, for patients with macrometastasis in SLN or who do not meet the inclusion criteria of the two studies, ALND is still the standard management. On the other hand, previous studies appear to disagree on the prognostic significance of minimal SLN involvement. One of the reasons for this discrepancy is the great variability among pathological examinations for SLN. The OSNA method, which is a fast molecular detection procedure targeting cytokeratin 19 (CK19) mRNA, has the advantage of reproducibility among institutions and the capability to examine a whole lymph node within 30–40 min. This novel method may thus be able to overcome the issue of variability among conventional pathological examinations.


Breast cancer Sentinel lymph node Micrometastasis OSNA 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Breast and Endocrine SurgeryOsaka University Graduate School of MedicineSuitaJapan

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