BACKGROUND: A survey of breast surgeons was conducted to evaluate changes in clinical practice regarding sentinel node biopsy (SNB) among clinically node-negative patients after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer with axillary node metastasis.
METHODS: We conducted two surveys among 252 members of the Korean Breast Cancer Society. The questionnaire comprised a case presentation and two associated questions. The case outlined a woman diagnosed with right breast cancer: core needle biopsy had confirmed invasive ductal carcinoma and tumor size was 4 cm on imaging examination. Fine needle aspiration examination for axillary lymph node enlargement showed metastatic carcinoma. The patient underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy and tumor size was decreased by 2 cm: axillary lymph node enlargement was not observed on palpitation or imaging examination. Finally, the patient underwent breast conserving surgery. Survey recipients were asked: 1. Would you perform SNB in this patient? 2. If you perform SNB and no axillary node metastasis is seen, would you perform additional axillary lymph node dissection (ALND)?
RESULTS: The response rate was 28.2% (71/252) and 15.1% (38/252) in 2013 and 2017, respectively. For the first question, the SNB to ALND ratio increased significantly from 54% versus 46% in 2013 to 92% versus 8% in 2017 (p < 0.001). The proportion of surgeons performing no additional ALND versus additional ALND increased from 38% versus 54% in 2013 to 53% versus 37% in 2017, but did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.1).
CONCLUSIONS: These data show that application of SNB among clinically node-negative patients after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer with node metastasis has increased among surgeons in Korea.
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