Surgeon bias in sentinel lymph node dissection: Do tumor characteristics influence decision making?

Kristin A. Robinson, Barbara A. Pockaj, Nabil Wasif, Katie Kaufman, Richard J. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: Determining sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) in breast cancer staging involves subjective interpretation by the surgeon. We hypothesized patient and tumor characteristics influence number of SLNs harvested. Methods: A single-institution, prospectively collected database was queried for breast cancer patients undergoing SLN surgery (2002-2013) and mean SLN counts were compared. Results: There were 2394 SLN biopsies. Mean number of SLNs per patient for the entire cohort was 2.6. Mean number of SLNs removed was greater for patients ≤50 years (2.9 versus 2.6; p<0.0001). Fewer SLNs were removed with tumors ≤1cm (2.5 versus 2.6; p=0.002). Patients with grades 2 or 3 tumors had more SLNs removed than grade 1 (2.6 versus 2.5; p=0.03). Receipt of neoadjuvant therapy was associated with more SLNs removed (3.0 versus 2.6; p=0.005). Conclusion: Number of SLNs removed varies based on risk factors for SLN metastasis or false-negative SLN biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-792
Number of pages3
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014



  • ALND
  • Breast cancer staging
  • SLN
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Surgeon bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this