Ultrasound and ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy can predict heavy nodal metastatic burden in early-stage breast cancer
Ultrasonography. 2021 Jan 21. Epub ahead of print Purpose: This study aimed to predict a heavy nodal burden (≥3 metastatic axillary lymph nodes [LNs]) using axillary ultrasonography (US) and US-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) in patients with early-stage breast cancer. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 403 women (404 cancers) who underwent US-guided FNAB for axillary LN staging from January 2006 to December 2015. US findings and US-guided FNAB results were
... FNAB results were reviewed and compared using pathology results as the reference. Diagnostic performance was analyzed, and clinicopathological and radiological findings were compared between patients with <3 metastatic LNs and ≥3 metastatic LNs. Results: The final pathology results revealed that 20.5% of cancers had heavy nodal metastases. US-guided FNAB showed significantly higher sensitivity (79.0% vs. 63.0%, P=0.009) and specificity (84.8% vs. 79.3%, P=0.036) in predicting heavy nodal metastases than did US. The presence of a larger number of suspicious LNs (two or more) on axillary US and positive FNAB results were significantly correlated with a heavy nodal burden in the multivariate analysis. The odds ratios were 4.20 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.90 to 9.39) for two suspicious LNs, 9.40 (95% CI, 2.99 to 29.54) for three or more suspicious LNs, and 14.22 (95% CI, 6.78 to 29.82) for positive FNAB results. Conclusion: The number of suspicious LNs detected on axillary US and FNAB results can help predict a heavy axillary nodal burden in patients with early-stage breast cancer.