Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy—an Indian Perspective

  • Ravi Arjunan
  • Tiwari Ajeet RamamaniEmail author
  • Chowdappa Ramachandra
  • Krishnamurthy Swamyvelu
  • Srinivas Chunduri
  • Syed Althaf
  • Amirtham Usha
  • Ranganath Namrata
Original Article


Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) alone in early breast cancer is an established standard of care. However, the same results have not been replicated in locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). We aim to examine the feasibility of SLNB in LABC patients post NACT to determine identification rates (IR) and false negative rates (FNR). This was a single tertiary cancer center–based prospective study from February 2017 to November 2018. Forty-four patients with LABC (T3, T4 with N0 or N1) were studied and response after NACT was assessed. Only those patients who were N0 or who converted from N1 to N0 after NACT were included. Those patients who remained node positive after NACT directly proceeded with axillary dissection without SLNB and were excluded from the study. Demographic and clinical data is expressed in ratios and percentage and presented in table format. The median age at the time of study was 45.18 years. Most of the patients had T3 and above (97.7%) and N1 (86.3%) disease at the start of neoadjuvant therapy. The mean number of axillary lymph nodes dissected was 13.97. Dual method of sentinel lymph node mapping (methylene blue dye and radiolabeled colloid) was used in 26 (59.1%) patients. At least 1 SLN was identified in 86.4% patients with 100% identification in those patients in whom the dual method of SLN mapping was used. Median of 2 SLN was removed. Overall, false negative rate was 21.4%. FNR was high with the single method of SLN mapping (50% and 33.3% with methylene blue and radioactive colloid respectively) while it was considerably low when both were used simultaneously (11%). An average of 2 (range 0–4) SLN were identified and FNR were zero when 2 or more SLN were identified. Our study shows that SLNB in patients with LABC post NACT though viable cannot be recommended at present due to unacceptable high FNR. However, this should not dissuade us from exploring recurrence-free survival and overall survival associated with such IR and FNR albeit strictly under a clinical trial setting.


Sentinel lymph node biopsy Locally advanced breast cancer Neoadjuvant chemotherapy Identification rate False negative rate 



We would like to thank Dr. Durgesh Sahoo for his help in statistical assessment for the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was approved by the Institution’s Scientific Review Board and Medical Ethics Committee (KMIO/MEC/007/24.Nov.2016).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Indian Association of Surgical Oncology 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ravi Arjunan
    • 1
  • Tiwari Ajeet Ramamani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chowdappa Ramachandra
    • 1
  • Krishnamurthy Swamyvelu
    • 1
  • Srinivas Chunduri
    • 1
  • Syed Althaf
    • 1
  • Amirtham Usha
    • 2
  • Ranganath Namrata
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Surgical OncologyKidwai Cancer InstituteBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Department of PathologyKidwai Cancer InstituteBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Department of Anaesthesia and Pain ReliefKidwai Cancer InstituteBangaloreIndia

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