Breast cancer is a significant health problem worldwide and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality in women. Preoperative chemotherapy has become the standard of care for patients with locally advanced disease and is being used more frequently in patients with early-stage breast cancer. Sentinel lymph node biopsy has shown great promise in the surgical management of breast cancer patients, but its use following preoperative chemotherapy is yet to be determined. Eleven studies have been published with respect to the accuracy of sentinel lymph node biopsy following neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Ten studies showed favourable results, with the ability to identify a sentinel lymph node in 84% to 98% of cases, and reported false negative rates ranging from 0% to 20%. The accuracy of sentinel lymph node biopsy following preoperative chemotherapy for breast cancer ranges from 88% to 100%, with higher rates when specific techniques and inclusion criteria are applied. The published literature supports the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy for assessment of the axilla in patients with clinically node-negative disease following preoperative chemotherapy.
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