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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Advanced Ultrasound in Diagnosis and Therapy, Volume 2, Issue 2, August 2018,

The published version is available here. Copyright © AUDT


Objective: The best method for sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in early-staged breast cancer (EBC) remains controversial. This study aimed to evaluate a novel method by combining trans-lymphatic contrast-enhanced ultrasound (TLCEUS) with blue dye injection as a guidance of SLNB.

Methods: TLCEUS was performed in 88 patients with newly diagnosed EBC. Methylene blue dye was percutaneously injected into enhanced sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) under ultrasound guidance, followed by standard SLNB and axillary lymph node dissection. Enhancement patterns and the arriving time (AT) of contrast agent within SLNs were evaluated. Histopathological examination of dissected nodes was performed to confirm metastasis.

Results: A total of 95 enhanced SLNs were identified and biopsied in 86 of 88 patients with identification rate of 97.7%. The specificity was 75.0%, sensitivity was 83.3%, and false-negative rate was 16.7%. Contrast-enhanced SLNs with type I, type II, and type III patterns had a metastatic positive rate of 11.4% (5/44), 57.1% (12/21) and 80.0% (24/30), respectively. Metastatic positive SLNs showed a mean AT of 61.6 ± 58.7 s while metastatic negative SLNs showed a mean AT of 41.3 ± 19.9 s, which was statistically significantly different.

Conclusion: The TLCEUS/blue dye method can be used as an alternative to the radioisotope/blue dye method for its feasibility and accuracy.