Chemotherapy is claimed to cause lymphatic drainage damage because of the tumor cell’s apoptosis process. This event might cause decreased marker (radioactive solution and/or blue dye) absorption on sentinel lymph nodes (SLN). In this study, the researchers used methylene blue only and wished to evaluate the methylene blue absorption of the SLNB procedure on early-stage breast-cancer patients after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC).
The method used was the historical cohort study conducted from 2016-2019 in Indonesia. Samples were collected from 117 patients of stage I and II breast cancer with clinically negative axillary lymph nodes, who were then grouped into post-NAC and no-NAC (control group), in which SLNB procedures were conducted on the two groups by using single-method methylene blue. The results of methylene blue absorption were then analyzed by the Chi-square hypothesis test.
From the total of 564 early-stage patients who were referred to surgical oncologists, 117 patients were found to meet criteria of inclusion, consisting of the control group (52 patients) and the post-NAC group (65 patents). Of 65 patients who had undergone NAC treatment and SLNB procedure, it was found that 40 patients (61.5%) showed positive blue SLN. Of 52 pre-NAC breast-cancer patients, it was found that 47 patients (90.4%) showed methylene blue absorption on SLN with the p-value of 0.000 (P<0.05, significant). The relative risk value amounted to 0.522. Post-NAC patients had a tendency of decreased absorption of methylene blue.