Clinicopathologic features of sentinel node metastases predictive of positive axillary clearance in grade 1 invasive breast carcinoma

  • B. HayesEmail author
  • O. Mc Cormack
  • C. M. Quinn
  • E. W. McDermott
  • D. Evoy
Original Article



Sentinel node (SN) biopsy is widely used to stage breast carcinoma and, when positive, typically leads to axillary clearance (AC).


This study assesses clinicopathologic features of grade 1 breast carcinoma SNs with the aim of identifying a group of patients, who are likely to have a negative AC and can, therefore, safely be spared further surgery.


Two hundred and forty-seven patients with grade 1 invasive carcinoma were identified, of whom 29 had a positive SN. Four patients (13.8%) had a positive AC. Positive AC occurred in 3 of 6 (50%) patients whose SN showed extranodal extension (EE), but in only 1 of 23 (4.3%) patients without EE. All patients were staged as pN1(sn) following SN biopsy: only one, who had a 5.27 mm metastasis with EE, was pN2 following AC.


Extranodal extension is a significant predictor of a positive AC in this group. In its absence, AC did not alter the post-SN biopsy pN stage.


Sentinel lymph node biopsy Breast cancer Metastasis Prognosis Staging 



The authors wish to acknowledge the Irish National Breast Screening Programme (“BreastCheck”) as the source of some of the data used in this study, and to acknowledge the work done by Dermot Carty in maintaining the breast cancer clinical database.

Conflict of interest statement



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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Hayes
    • 1
    Email author
  • O. Mc Cormack
    • 2
  • C. M. Quinn
    • 1
  • E. W. McDermott
    • 2
  • D. Evoy
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HistopathologySt Vincent’s University HospitalDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Breast and Endocrine SurgerySt Vincent’s University HospitalDublinIreland

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