Staging and management of axillary lymph nodes in patients with local recurrence in the breast or chest wall after a previous negative sentinel node procedure

F. Derkx*, Adriana J. G. Maaskant-Braat, Maurice J. C. van der Sangen, Grard A. P. Nieuwenhuijzen, L.V. van de Poll-Franse, R. M. H. Roumen, A. C. Voogd

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: To evaluate axillary staging and management in patients with local recurrence (LR) after a previous negative sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNB). Methods: Between 1999 and 2008, 130 patients with previous negative SNB developed a LR of breast or chest wall. After examination of clinical records, 70 patients met the inclusion criteria and remained available for analysis. Results: Thirty-seven patients were treated with axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), followed by axillary radiotherapy in 9 cases. In 26 of these 37 patients no positive axillary lymph nodes were found. Nineteen patients received no treatment of the axilla at all. Of those, 9 were older than 70 years of age at diagnosis of LR. In 13 patients a second SNB was attempted, but was successful in only 5 cases. Eight patients underwent a complementary ALND. Overall, positive lymph nodes were detected in 13 of the 50 patients who underwent axillary staging, either by SNB or ALND. The median length of follow-up of the 70 patients following their diagnosis of LR was 24 months (range 2-81 months). During this follow-up period one patient developed an axillary recurrence. This was a patient who refused to undergo ALND but was given locoregional radiotherapy instead. Conclusions: In the absence of guidelines for staging and management of the axilla at time of LR of breast or chest wall, many different strategies are being used. Considering the high rate of positive axillary lymph nodes in these patients, repeat surgical staging is appropriate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-651
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Breast carcinoma
  • Axilla
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Lymph node dissection
  • Local recurrence
  • Staging

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