Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Associated with Breast Cancer Rates

 Behind the Cancer Headlines®

July 4, 2007 


The incidence of some early stage metastatic breast cancers is increasing, but this finding is likely explained by changes in clinical practice, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  

Deirdre Cronin-Fenton, Ph.D., of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, with colleagues at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., found that the increase in some early stage breast cancers corresponded to greater use of biopsies of sentinel lymph nodes—the primary lymph node to which cancer cells are likely to spread from a tumor. Sentinel lymph node biopsies often detect small numbers of tumor cells that do not necessarily indicate that the cancer has spread. 

“While the use of [sentinel lymph node biopsy] in community practice continues to increase, it is expected that cases with [lymph node] metastases also will continue to increase,” the authors write.  



Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online edition, June 26, 2007