Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the accuracy of different surgical axillary staging procedures compared with ALND. Summary of Background Data: Optimal axillary staging after neoadjuvant systemic therapy (NST) in node-positive breast cancer is an area of controversy. Several less invasive procedures, such as sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), marking axillary lymph node with radioactive iodine seed (MARI), and targeted axillary dissection (a combination of SLNB and a MARI-like procedure), have been proposed to replace the conventional axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) with its concomitant morbidity. Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched for studies comparing less invasive surgical axillary staging procedures to ALND to identify axillary burden after NSTin patients with pathologically confirmed node-positive breast cancer (cNþ). A meta-analysis was performed to compare identification rate (IFR), false-negative rate (FNR), and negative predictive value (NPV). Results: Of 1132 records, 20 unique studies with 2217 patients were included in quantitative analysis: 17 studies on SLNB, 1 study on MARI, and 2 studies on a combination procedure. Overall axillary pathologic complete response rate was 37%. For SLNB, pooled rates of IFR and FNR were 89% and 17%. NPV ranged from 57% to 86%. For MARI, IFR was 97%, FNR 7%, and NPV 83%. For the combination procedure, IFR was 100%, FNR ranged from 2% to 4%, and NPV from 92% to 97%. Conclusion: Axillary staging by a combination procedure consisting of SLNB with excision of a pre-NST marked positive lymph node appears to be most accurate for axillary staging after NST. More evidence from prospective multicenter trials is needed to confirm this.

Additional Metadata
Keywords axillary staging, breast cancer, iodine seed, neoadjuvant systemic therapy, node-positive, sentinel lymph node biopsy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1097/sla.0000000000003075, hdl.handle.net/1765/117203
Journal Annals of Surgery
Simons, J.M., van Nijnatten, TJA, van der Pol, C.C., Luiten, E.J.T., Koppert, L.B, & Smidt, M.L. (2019). Diagnostic Accuracy of Different Surgical Procedures for Axillary Staging After Neoadjuvant Systemic Therapy in Node-positive Breast Cancer. Annals of Surgery, 269(3), 432–442. doi:10.1097/sla.0000000000003075