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Is sentinel lymph node biopsy a viable alternative to complete axillary dissection following neoadjuvant chemotherapy in women with node-positive breast cancer at diagnosis?

July 2016

According to recent research carried out at the London Breast Institute and published in the American Journal of Surgery, Professor Kefah Mokbel and his team concluded that women with biopsy proven spread of cancer to the armpit lymph glands when treated with chemotherapy upfront before surgery (known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy) with a good response they can be safely spared the radical removal of all the lymph glands (known as complete complete lymph node dissection) and undergo sentinel node biopsy instead (at least 2 nodes retrieved). This represents the largest study published to date.

Professor Mokbel commented: "The avoidance of radical surgery to the lymph glands in the armpit is associated with less morbidly and better quality of life for patients and is part of a continuing trend where ‘less is more’"