Hot nodes emerge in obese women

May 1, 2007

While identifying sentinel nodes with lymphoscintigraphy can have a significant impact on the treatment and outcome of breast cancer, the planar imaging technique is less than optimal for overweight women.

While identifying sentinel nodes with lymphoscintigraphy can have a significant impact on the treatment and outcome of breast cancer, the planar imaging technique is less than optimal for overweight women. Multiplanar SPECT/CT lymphoscintigraphy may change that.

Dr. Hedva Lerman and colleagues at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel found that overall SPECT/CT lymphoscintigraphy detects more sentinel nodes not identified with planar imaging or intraoperative blue dye. In overweight women, however, the difference was statistically significant. (JNM 2007;48[2]:201-206).

"Obesity is a significant factor in why lymphoscintigraphy fails and leads to occasional-and unnecessary-full axillary lymph node dissection," Lerman said.

Researchers don't know exactly why planar imaging fails in overweight patients, but they speculate that adipose tissue in the lymph nodes may compromise the test's accuracy.