The role of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ. An updated meta-analysis involving 9803 patients


Session type:

Hiba El Hage Chehade1,Hannah Headon1,Umar Wazir1,Abdul Kasem1,Kefah Mokbel1
1The Princess Grace Hospital



Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the predominant pre-invasive neoplasia of the breast. It was observed that omission of axillary dissection in those with pure DCIS had no adverse effect on survival or recurrence. Therefore, axillary dissection typically does not feature in the management of DCIS. However, it has recently been observed that in some cases of DCIS, the axillary lymph nodes may show evidence of invasive disease. Consequently, there may be a role for sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in patients with DCIS with a high risk of invasion.


Systematic literature review identified 48 studies (9803 DCIS patients who underwent SLNB). Separate analyses for patients diagnosed preoperatively by core sampling and patients diagnosed postoperatively by specimen pathology were conducted to determine the percentage of patients with axillary nodal involvement. Patient factors were analysed for associations with risk of nodal involvement. .


The mean percentage of positive SLNBs was higher in the pre-operative group (5.95% vs. 3.02%; p=0.0201). Meta-regression analysis showed a direct association with tumour size (p=0.0333) and grade(p=0.00839), but not median age nor tumour upstage rate.


SLNB should be considered in patients with a pre-operative diagnosis of extensive and/or high-grade DCIS after a careful multidisciplinary discussion in order to identify those patients who have unrecognised axillary spread.