Original article| Volume 23, ISSUE 2, P231-236, February 2023

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Is Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Necessary in Patients who Undergo Prophylactic Mastectomy?

Published:December 07, 2022DOI:



      Over the last decade, rates of risk-reducing prophylactic mastectomy (PM) have risen dramatically. A topic of debate regarding the procedure is whether to use sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) at the time of PM and what factors might predict for such need. In order to assess the rate of identifying presence of occult invasive breast cancer in the PM specimen, we performed a retrospective review of the pathology findings from a single-surgeon case-series of PM.


      Patients undergoing PM between January 2013 and June 2019 at Orlando Health Cancer Institute were identified for a retrospective chart review. Demographic, clinical, and histopathological data from the surgical procedure were collected and analyzed for the incidence of occult invasive breast cancer in the PM specimen.


      A total of 146 consecutive patients with PM were identified; 120 (82.2%) underwent contralateral PM (CPM) and 26 (17.8%) underwent bilateral PM (BPM). Final pathology of the 172 PM specimens identified 4 (3.3%) with lobular carcinoma in situ, 3 (2.5%) with atypical ductal hyperplasia, and 2 (1.7%) with atypical lobular hyperplasia and 2 (1.7%) with intraductal papilloma. No invasive malignancy was detected in any of the 172 PM specimens.
      Conclusions: The absence of occult invasive carcinoma in 172 consecutive PM specimens suggests a limited clinical utility in routinely performing SLNB in this setting. This study also suggests that use of preoperative breast MRI imaging could offer a potential non-invasive tool to detect occult malignancy and select patients who can safely undergo omission of SLNB at the time of PM.


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