The evaluation of the sentinel lymph nodes status in breast carcinoma using microscopic, immunohistochemical and cytomorphometric methods in order to establish new stadializations and therapeutic schemes

Vol. 50 No. 1, 2009


Simona Stolnicu, M. Fl. Coros, Daniela Maria Podeanu, E. Carata, T. Mezei, Simona Muscă, C. Podoleanu, Doinița Rădulescu

The state of axillary lymph nodes represents the most important prognostic parameter in patients with breast carcinoma. The biopsy and examination of sentinel lymph nodes, the former one containing metastases originating in mammary carcinoma, allows a better stadialization of the tumor but also the avoiding of the extirpation of the axilla, associated with a series of complications and high costs of hospitalization. In establishing the tumoral prognosis, not only the diameter but also the localization of the metastasis in the lymph nodes is utterly important. The evaluation of the metastases was carried out through the serial examination of the sentinel lymph node correlated to immunohistochemical examinations with AE1/AE3. Of the 570 patients with breast carcinoma evaluated in this research, 250 had macrometastases, 93 micrometastases, only 23 had isolated tumor cells, and in the case of 204 no metastases were found. The technique of computerized cytomorphometry allowed a better evaluation of the diameter and localization of the metastases in the lymph nodes than the examination through optical microscope. The tumoral prognosis in the case of patients with macrometastases is poorer than that of patients with micrometastases. The patients in whom only the presence of isolated tumoral cells was demonstrated have a similar prognosis with those who do not have metastases. As far as the localization of micrometastases in the sentinel lymph nodes is concerned, those with a subcapsular localization are associated with a poorer prognosis than those with an intraparenchymatous localization. As well as this, the subcapsular localization of micrometastases was also associated with the diameter of the primary tumor extending between 2-5 centimeters, a high microscopic grade, the presence of lymph vascular emboli and microscopic type of the primary tumor associated with poor prognosis. On the other hand, the presence of isolated tumoral cells was associated with tumors of a small diameter lacking the presence of lymph vascular emboli and with a low microscopic grade. All these data are essential in establishing the therapeutic management of the patients with breast carcinoma; consequently, we recommend their inclusion in future stadializations of this lesion and the evaluation of tumoral prognosis.

Corresponding author: Simona Stolnicu, MD, PhD, e-mail:

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