Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2008-04
Sentinel lymph node biopsy is successful and accurate in male breast carcinoma.   
Men and women with breast cancer have similar risks of morbidity related to axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy minimizes this risk. We report results from the largest series of SLN biopsies for male breast cancer and compare this experience with that of female counterparts treated concurrently.
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center SLN biopsy database showed that 7,315 SLN biopsy procedures were performed for primary breast cancer from September 1996 to July 2005. Of these, 78 (1.0%) procedures were performed in men. Followup data were obtained from medical record review.
SLN biopsy was successful in 76 of 78 (97%) patients. Negative SLNs were found in 39 of 76 (51%) patients. In 3 (8%) patients with negative SLNs, a positive non-SLN was found, identified by intraoperative palpation. Positive SLNs were found in 37 of 76 (49%) patients. In 22 of 37 (59%), node positivity was determined intraoperatively, prompting immediate ALND. In 15 of 37 (41%) patients with positive SLNs, node positivity was determined postoperatively. Of these 15, 9 (60%) underwent completion ALND. In the 2 of 78 (3%) patients with failed SLN biopsy procedures, ALND was performed and yielded positive nodes. At a median followup of 28 months (range 5 to 96 months), there were no axillary recurrences. Compared with their female counterparts, men with breast cancer had larger tumors and were more likely to have positive nodes.
SLN biopsy is successful and accurate in male breast cancer patients. Although a larger proportion of men have positive nodes, for men with negative nodes, SLN biopsy may reduce morbidity related to ALND.

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