Breast Cancer

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 243–248 | Cite as

Computed tomography for preoperative evaluation of axillary nodal status in Breast Cancer

  • Mitsuru Miyauchi
  • Naohito Yamamoto
  • Nobuhiro Imanaka
  • Masanari Matsumoto
Original Article



We prospectively evaluated axillary lymph node metastasis by preoperative thin-slice computed tomography (CT) and compared those results with the results of dye-guided sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNB).

Patients and Methods

Fifty-one breast cancer cases were examined. Preoperative axillary CT, dye-guided SNB and complete axillary lymph node dissection were performed. We prospectively diagnosed lymph node metastasis in the whole axillary region and qualitatively predicted the sentinel lymph node (SN) status with the preoperative CT images. Based on the results of SNB and the pathological nodal status as revealed by complete axillary dissection, we evaluated the usefulness of preoperative axillary CT as a predictor of axillary node metastasis, and we also investigated the qualitative diagnostic value of the SN predicted by CT.


For the whole axillary region, the results of CT diagnosis showed an accuracy of 71% and a sensitivity of 60%. The SN predicted by CT correlated with the SN identified by the dye-guided method in 86% of all cases. The SN status predicted by CT had an accuracy of 81%, a sensitivity of 78%, and a negative predictive value of 79%. The dye-guided methods resulted in three false-negative SN cases, however, CT predicted one of those cases as positive.


Diagnosis of axillary lymph node metastasis by CT alone is inadequate. However, CT achieves a comparatively high rate of identification of axillary SN. The combined use of dye-guided SNB and preoperative CT will facilitate identification of the SN and also lower the false-negative rate.

Key words

Breast cancer CT Axillary lymph node Sentinel lymph node Preoperative diagnosis 



Computed tomography


Sentinel lymph node


Sentinel lymph node biopsy


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Breast Cancer Society 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitsuru Miyauchi
    • 1
  • Naohito Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Nobuhiro Imanaka
    • 1
  • Masanari Matsumoto
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Breast SurgeryChiba Cancer CenterJapan

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