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Medical News & Perspectives
December 17, 2003

Surgeons "Vote With Their Feet" for Sentinel Node Biopsy for Breast Cancer Staging

JAMA. 2003;290(23):3053-3054. doi:10.1001/jama.290.23.3053

Sentinel node biopsy (SNB), an investigational procedure for staging breast cancer that involves substantially less morbidity than standard axillary node dissection, is now routinely performed despite the fact that clinical trials to test its validity are still years from completion, according to a new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003;95:1514-1521).

The study, which involved 3003 women with stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer who were treated at five comprehensive cancer centers between 1997 and 2000, reports that the use of SNB increased from 8% in 1997 to 58% in the last half of 2000.