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Volume 24, Number 6, 2019

SPECT-CT localization of axillary sentinel lymph nodes for radiotherapy of early breast cancer

Sergey Novikov, Pavel Krzhivitskii, Sergey Kanaev, Petr Krivorotko, Nikolay Ilin, Julia Melnik, Nadejda Popova


Purpose To evaluate the opportunities of single photon emission tomography/computerized tomography (SPECT-CT) for localization of axillary sentinel lymph nodes (ASLNs) and subsequent radiotherapy planning in women with early breast cancer. Material and methods Individual topography of ASLN was determined in 151 women with clinical T1-2N0M0 breast cancer. SPECT-CT visualization of ASLNs was initiated 120 min after intra-peritumoral injection of 99mTc-radiocolloids. Doses absorbed by virtual ASLNs after the whole breast irradiation with standard and extended tangential fields were calculated on a treatment planning station. Results SPECT-CT demonstrated a large variability of ASLN localization. They were detected in the central subgroup in 94 (61%) patients, in pectoral – in 77 (51%), and in interpectoral – in 4 (3%) patients. Sentinel lymph nodes “lying on the chest” were revealed in 35 (23%) cases. We found that with standard tangential fields coverage of ASLNs was obtained only in 20% of evaluated women. Extended tangential fields can effectively irradiate ASLNs localized in all axillary sub-regions with the exception of ASLNs “lying on the chest”. Conclusion SPECT-CT mapping of ASLNs in women with cT1-2N0M0 breast cancer reveals their variable localization. This information can be important for planning of radiation treatment in women that underwent breast conserving surgery without an axillary surgery.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2019; 24(6) : 688-694

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