Axillary Lymph Node Ultrasound Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Biopsy-Proven Node-Positive Breast Cancer: Results from the SN FNAC Study Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • BACKGROUND: The sentinel node biopsy following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (SN FNAC) study has shown that in node-positive (N+) breast cancer, sentinel node biopsy (SNB) can be performed following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC), with a low false negative rate (FNR = 8.4%). A secondary endpoint of the SN FNAC study was to determine whether axillary ultrasound (AxUS) could predict axillary pathological complete response (ypN0) and increase the accuracy of SNB. METHODS: The SN FNAC trial is a study of patients with biopsy-proven N+ breast cancer who underwent SNB followed by completion node dissection. All patients had AxUS following NAC and the axillary nodes were classified as either positive (AxUS+) or negative (AxUS-). AxUS was compared with the final axillary pathology results. RESULTS: There was no statistical difference in the baseline characteristics of patients with AxUS+ versus those with AxUS-. Overall, 82.5% (47/57) of AxUS+ patients had residual positive lymph nodes (ypN+) at surgery and 53.8% (42/78) of AxUS- patients had ypN+. Post NAC AxUS sensitivity was 52.8%, specificity 78.3%, and negative predictive value 46.2%. AxUS FNR was 47.2%, versus 8.4% for SNB. If post-NAC AxUS- was used to select patients for SNB, FNR would decrease from 8.4 to 2.7%. However, using post-NAC AxUS in addition to SNB as an indication for ALND would have led to unnecessary ALND in 7.8% of all patients. CONCLUSION: AxUS is not appropriate as a standalone staging procedure, and SNB itself is sufficient to assess the axilla post NAC in patients who present with N+ breast cancer.


  • Morency, Dominique
  • Dumitra, Sinziana
  • Parvez, Elena
  • Martel, Karyne
  • Basik, Mark
  • Robidoux, André
  • Poirier, Brigitte
  • Holloway, Claire MB
  • Gaboury, Louis
  • Sideris, Lucas
  • Meterissian, Sarkis
  • Boileau, Jean-François

publication date

  • December 2019

has subject area