Axillary Nodal Management Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: A Review

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Abstract

Importance

The increasing use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for operable breast cancer has raised questions about optimal local therapy for the axilla.

Observations

Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) after NAC in patients presenting with clinically negative nodes has an accuracy similar to upfront SLNB and reduces the need for axillary lymph node dissection compared with SLNB prior to NAC. In patients presenting with node-positive disease, clinical trials demonstrate that SLNB after NAC is accurate when 3 or more sentinel nodes are obtained, but long-term outcomes are lacking. The relative importance of pre- and post-NAC stage in predicting risk of locoregional recurrence remains an area of controversy.

Conclusions and Relevance

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy reduces the need for axillary lymph node dissection, and SLNB is an accurate method of determining nodal status after NAC.

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