◾ Clinical Requirements and Expectations: Using Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy as an Example
We now know that tumour progression in breast cancer oen occurs in an orderly, progressive fashion along the lymphatic system to the sentinel or gatekeeping node. e sentinel lymph node is known as the ‘gatekeeper’ node; it is the rst node that receives metastatic deposits from the primary cancer site. So in theory, if the sentinel node is tumour-free, then the rest of the nodes following the lymphatic progression should also be tumourfree. SLNB involves identifying the sentinel node, removing the node and analysing it for malignant cells. e aim of this is to stage the axilla, to detect if the cancer in the breast has spread or if it has remained localised. e status of the axilla has been shown to be one of the most important prognostic indicators of the overall survival in breast cancer patients, and thus, the results of SLNB convey important information regarding further treatment options.