BACKGROUND: Tattooing is an alternative method for marking biopsied axillary lymph nodes (ALNs) before initiation of treatments for newly diagnosed breast cancer. Detection of black ink-stained nodes is performed under direct visualization at surgery and is combined with sentinel node (SLN) mapping procedures.METHODS: Women with newly diagnosed breast cancer who underwent fine or core-needle biopsy of suspicious ALNs were recruited. The nodal cortex and perinodal soft tissue was injected with 0.1-1.0ml of Spot (GI Supply) black ink under ultrasound guidance. Intraoperatively, black stained nodes were removed along with SLNs, noting concordance between the two.RESULTS: Sixty-six evaluable patients were enrolled (2013-2017). Nineteen received surgery first (Group 1) and 47 neoadjuvant therapy (NAT, Group 2). The average number of nodes tattooed was 1.16 for Group 1 and 1.04 for Group 2. The average interval from tattoo to surgery was 21days (range 1-62) for Group 1 and 148days (range 71-257) for Group 2. The tattooed node(s) were visually identified at surgery and corresponded to the sentinel lymph node(s) in 98.5% of cases (18/19 in Group 1 and 47/47 in Group 2). Of the 14 patients in Group 2 whose nodes remained positive following NAT, the tattooed node was the SLN associated with carcinoma.CONCLUSIONS: Tattooing is an alternative method for marking biopsied ALNs. Tattooed nodes coincided with SLNs in 98.5% of cases. This technique is advantageous, because it allows for fewer procedures and lower costs compared with other methods.
View details for PubMedID 31087176