Is there an indication for sentinel node biopsy in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast? A review

C. H.M. van Deurzen, M. G.G. Hobbelink, R. van Hillegersberg, P. J. van Diest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast is defined as a proliferation of malignant epithelial cells within breast ducts without evidence of invasion through the basement membrane. The detection rate of DCIS of the breast has dramatically increased since the mid-1980s as the result of the widespread use of screening mammography. DCIS currently represents about 15-25% of all breast cancers detected in population screening programmes. Although inherently a non-invasive disease, occult invasion with the potential of lymph node metastases may occur. Where performing an axillary lymph node dissection-or-not for DCIS used to be an important dilemma, the same now holds for the sentinel node biopsy. This article reviews the potential role of the sentinel node biopsy (SNB) in patients with DCIS. We conclude that based on the current literature, there is in general no role for a SNB in DCIS. A SNB should only be considered in patients with an excisional biopsy diagnosis of high risk DCIS (grade III with palpable mass or large tumour area by imaging) as well as in patients undergoing mastectomy after a core or excisional biopsy diagnosis of DCIS, although SNB may be contraindicated in many of the latter patients because of lesion size and/or multifocality. Even in these patients the value of a positive SN, containing mostly isolated tumour cells, is questionable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1001
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Breast cancer
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ
  • Sentinel node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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