What’s next for sentinel lymph node biopsy?

What if researchers find out in three or four years that women who only have sentinel node biopsy have a slightly lower survival rate?

There’s only one way to answer that question: through a prospective randomized study, says David N. Krag, MD, FACS, professor of surgery at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Krag spoke on sentinel node biopsy of the breast at the October meeting of the Chicago-based American College of Surgeons and was the principal investigator of a sentinel node biopsy study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (See reference, p. 24.)

Such a study is starting this year, Krag says. The study, titled B 32, is being conducted by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NCABP) in Pittsburgh. Approximately 100 centers across the United States and Canada will participate. The trial will determine whether sentinel node removal is as accurate as full removal of lymph nodes.

[Editor’s note: For more information on sentinel node biopsy research, contact David N. Krag, MD, FACS, Department of Surgery, Given Building, Room E 309, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. Telephone: (802) 656-2262.]

Sources

For more information on sentinel node biopsy, contact:

Mary Donnelly Strozzo, CRNP, MPH, MS, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, Eighth Floor, 601 N. Caroline St., Baltimore, MD 21287. Telephone: (410) 614-2587. Fax: (410) 614-1947.