Sentinel Node Biopsy: Who is a Candidate?

Last Modified: October 28, 2007


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), which the pathology report called grade II/III. Am I a candidate for sentinel node biopsy?


Kevin R. Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Anyone with an invasive breast cancer, of any size, is theoretically a candidate for sentinel lymph node exam. This is not true for inflammatory cancers, locally advanced cancers, or patients with large palpable lymph nodes. DCIS is not an invasive cancer and so these cases do not typically have sentinel node biopsies.

One other consideration for sentinel lymph node biopsy is the presence of a surgical team that is experienced in the procedure. If there is not an experienced team at the medical center, patients who are candidates should be referred to a center that is experienced in sentinel node biopsy in order to ensure optimal results.