Factors predicting additional disease in the axilla in patients with positive sentinel lymph nodes after neoadjuvant chemotherapy

Jacqueline S. Jeruss, Lisa A. Newman, Gregory D. Ayers, Massimo Cristofanilli, Kristine R. Broglio, Funda Meric-Bernstam, Min Yi, Jennifer F. Waljee, Merrick I. Ross, Kelly K. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The utility of sentinel lymph node (SNL) biopsy (SLNB) as a predictor of axillary lymph node status is similar in patients who receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy and patients who undergo surgery first. The authors of this study hypothesized that patients with positive SLNs after neoadjuvant therapy would have unique clinicopathologic factors that would be predictive of additional positive non-SLNs distinct from patients who underwent surgery first. METHODS. One hundred four patients were identified who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, had a positive SLN, and underwent axillary dissection between 1997 and 2005. At the time of presentation, 66 patients had clinically negative lymph nodes by ultrasonography, and 38 patients had positive lymph nodes confirmed by fine-needle aspiration. Eighteen factors were assessed for their ability to predict positive non-SLNs using chi-square and logistic regression analysis with a bootstrapped, backwards elimination procedure. The resulting nomogram was tested by using a patient cohort from another institution. RESULTS. Patients with clinically negative lymph nodes at presentation were less likely than patients with positive lymph nodes to have positive non-SLNs (47% vs 71%; P = .017). On multivariate analysis, lymphovascular invasion, the method for detecting SLN metastasis, multicentricity, positive axillary lymph nodes at presentation, and pathologic tumor size retained grouped significance with a bootstrap-adjusted area under the curve (AUC) of 0.762. The resulting nomogram was validated in the external patient cohort (AUC, 0.78). CONCLUSIONS. A significant proportion of patients with positive SLNs after neoadjuvant chemotherapy had no positive non-SLNs. The use of a nomogram based on 5 predictive variables that were identified in this study may be useful for predicting the risk of positive non-SLNs in patients who have positive SLNs after chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2646-2654
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2008


  • Breast cancer
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Nomogram
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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