Publications by authors named "Hernan I Vargas"

29 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Immunomodulation by imiquimod in patients with high-risk primary melanoma.

J Invest Dermatol 2012 Jan 18;132(1):163-9. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Division of Dermatology, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90502, USA.

Imiquimod is a synthetic Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist approved for the topical treatment of actinic keratoses, superficial basal cell carcinoma, and genital warts. Imiquimod leads to an 80-100% cure rate of lentigo maligna; however, studies of invasive melanoma are lacking. We conducted a pilot study to characterize the local, regional, and systemic immune responses induced by imiquimod in patients with high-risk melanoma. After treatment of the primary melanoma biopsy site with placebo or imiquimod cream, we measured immune responses in the treated skin, sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs), and peripheral blood. Treatment of primary melanomas with 5% imiquimod cream was associated with an increase in both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the skin, and CD4+ T cells in the SLN. Most of the CD8+ T cells in the skin were CD25 negative. We could not detect any increases in CD8+ T cells specifically recognizing HLA-A(*)0201-restricted melanoma epitopes in the peripheral blood. The findings from this small pilot study demonstrate that topical imiquimod treatment results in enhanced local and regional T-cell numbers in both the skin and SLN. Further research into TLR7 immunomodulating pathways as a basis for effective immunotherapy against melanoma in conjunction with surgery is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/jid.2011.247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3229834PMC
January 2012

Axillary recurrence after sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer.

Am Surg 2010 Oct;76(10):1127-9

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is routinely performed as an axillary staging procedure for breast cancer. Although the reported false-negative rate approaches 10 per cent, this does not always lead to axillary recurrence. We previously reported an axillary recurrence rate of 1 per cent at a median follow-up of 2 years. Our objective is to determine the rate of axillary recurrence with longer follow-up. A retrospective review of patients with invasive breast cancer and a negative SLNB treated between 2001 and 2005 was performed. Cases where neoadjuvant therapy was used or where isolated tumor cells (ITCs) were found were included, whereas those with fewer than 18 months of follow-up were excluded. One (0.7%) out of 139 patients had an axillary recurrence after a median follow-up of 52 months. No patient who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy or with ITCs had axillary recurrence. Twelve (8.6%) patients have died, with death attributed to breast cancer in three. Our study demonstrates that axillary recurrence after SLNB remains a rare event after a median follow-up of 52 months, despite including potentially higher risk scenarios such as where neoadjuvant chemotherapy is used and ITCs are found. Therefore, axillary lymph node dissection can safely be avoided in patients where SLNB is negative.
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October 2010

Focused microwave thermotherapy for preoperative treatment of invasive breast cancer: a review of clinical studies.

Ann Surg Oncol 2010 Apr 22;17(4):1076-93. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Health Sciences Center, The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.

Background: Preoperative focused microwave thermotherapy (FMT) is a promising method for targeted treatment of breast cancer cells. Results of four multi-institutional clinical studies of preoperative FMT for treating invasive carcinomas in the intact breast are reviewed.

Methods: Externally applied wide-field adaptive phased-array FMT has been investigated both as a preoperative heat-alone ablation treatment and as a combination treatment with preoperative anthracycline-based chemotherapy for breast tumors ranging in ultrasound-measured size from 0.8 to 7.8 cm.

Results: In phase I, eight of ten (80%) patients receiving a single low dose of FMT prior to receiving mastectomy had a partial tumor response quantified by either ultrasound measurements of tumor volume reduction or by pathologic cell kill. In phase II, the FMT thermal dose was increased to establish a threshold dose to induce 100% pathologic tumor cell kill for invasive carcinomas prior to breast-conserving surgery (BCS). In a randomized study for patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer, of those patients receiving preoperative FMT at ablative temperatures, 0 of 34 (0%) patients had positive tumor margins, whereas positive margins occurred in 4 of 41 (9.8%) of patients receiving BCS alone (P = 0.13). In a randomized study for patients with large tumors, based on ultrasound measurements the median tumor volume reduction was 88.4% (n = 14) for patients receiving FMT and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, compared with 58.8% (n = 10) reduction in the neoadjuvant chemotherapy-alone arm (P = 0.048).

Conclusions: Wide-field adaptive phased-array FMT can be safely administered in a preoperative setting, and data from randomized studies suggest both a reduction in positive tumor margins as a heat-alone treatment for early-stage breast cancer and a reduction in tumor volume when used in combination with anthracycline-based chemotherapy for patients with large breast cancer tumors. Larger randomized studies are required to verify these conclusions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1245/s10434-009-0872-zDOI Listing
April 2010

Outcomes following sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer.

Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res 2007 Oct;7(5):469-77

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1000 West Carson St Box #25, Torrance, CA 90509, USA.

Evaluation of axillary lymph nodes for metastatic involvement is the most significant factor in gauging prognosis in breast cancer patients. Complete axillary dissection can be associated with significant morbidity. Therefore, sentinel node biopsy was developed to sample nodes and avoid dissection in patients without clinical evidence of nodal involvement. While most surgeons currently perform the procedure, the technique remains unstandardized. Sentinel node identification rates, false-negative rates and procedural complication rates are the main outcomes measured and can depend significantly on variations in technique. Future studies on sentinel lymph node biopsy will probably focus on clarifying accuracy of the procedure in different clinical settings, delineating standard technical practice guidelines and further achieving improved outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/14737167.7.5.469DOI Listing
October 2007

Evaluation of three scoring systems predicting non sentinel node metastasis in breast cancer patients with a positive sentinel node biopsy.

Ann Surg Oncol 2007 Mar 20;14(3):1014-9. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Background: Completion axillary lymph node dissection (cALND), performed after a positive sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in breast cancer patients, often results in no additional positive nodes. Scoring systems have been published to aid in the prediction of nonsentinel node metastasis. Our purpose was to assess the validity of these scoring systems in our patient population.

Methods: For 39 consecutive patients who underwent cALND after a positive SLNB, scores were calculated using retrospective patient data for each of the three scoring systems used. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves were drawn, and the areas under the curves were calculated to assess the discriminative power of each system. Univariate analysis was performed to assess the predictability of individual patient and tumor characteristics.

Results: Nonsentinel nodes were positive in 23 (59%) patients. The areas under the ROC curves were 0.63, 0.70, and 0.68, respectively. The proportion of sentinel nodes that were positive and the total number of sentinel nodes retrieved were the only individual predictors of nonsentinel node metastasis.

Conclusions: Given the high incidence of retrieving no additional metastasis on cALND, individualized patient management according to risk is desirable. Scoring systems provide additional information regarding the likelihood of metastasis in nonsentinel nodes, but their predictability remains less than optimal. The use of scoring systems must be applied with caution until future studies provide a more accurate assessment of risk for patients with a positive SLNB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1245/s10434-006-9223-5DOI Listing
March 2007

Axillary regional recurrence after sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer.

Am Surg 2006 Oct;72(10):939-42

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

The accuracy of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) staging in breast cancer has been demonstrated in studies comparing it with axillary dissection. There is a 5 per cent false-negative rate, but this does not always correlate with axillary recurrence. Our purpose was to determine the rate of axillary lymphatic recurrence in breast cancer patients who had a negative SLNB. We conducted a cohort study of breast cancer patients who underwent SLNB between 2001 and 2005. Only patients who had a negative SLNB were included. Patient demographics and tumor factors were reviewed. Outcomes measured were axillary and systemic recurrence and survival. Eighty-nine patients with a mean age of 54.4 +/- 9.9 years were included. Eighty-nine per cent of cases had infiltrating ductal carcinoma histology. Mean tumor size was 19 +/- 14 mm. Breast conservation surgery was done in 65 cases and mastectomy in 24. A mean of 2.3 +/- 2.4 SLN were found. After a median follow-up of 2.15 years, 1 (1%) patient developed a lymphatic recurrence in the axilla. SLNB provides accurate staging of breast cancer. Patients with negative SLNB do not require axillary dissection.
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October 2006

Success of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in conversion of mastectomy to breast conservation surgery.

Am Surg 2006 Oct;72(10):935-8

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NC) in patients with breast cancer results in high response rates and has been used with the purpose of reducing tumor size and achieving breast conservation (BC) in individuals who initially require mastectomy. Our objective is to determine the success of NC in achieving BC in women who initially were not candidates for BC. We conducted a cohort study of women with invasive breast cancer who required mastectomy but desired BC surgery. Outcomes measured were tumor response and rates of BC. Thirty-seven women had a mean age of 45 years. Mean tumor size was 51 mm, and 62 per cent were larger than 4 cm. Tumors were predominantly infiltrating ductal carcinoma (83.3%) and high grade (62.2%). Cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and 5-fluorouracil with or without taxotere were most commonly used (86%). Complete clinical and pathologic responses were seen in 32.4 per cent and 10.8 per cent of patients, respectively. BC was achieved in 56.7 per cent of cases. Only initial tumor size predicted tumor regression and success of BC (P = 0.014). Neither tumor histology nor biologic markers predicted tumor response. In conclusion, NC is an effective alternative in achieving tumor reduction and BC in selected patients who require mastectomy but desire BC surgery.
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October 2006

Intraoperative injection of technetium-99m sulfur colloid is effective in the detection of sentinel lymph nodes in breast cancer.

Am J Surg 2006 Oct;192(4):423-6

Department of Surgery, Section of Surgical Oncology, 1000 W. Carson St., Box 25, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90502, USA.

Background: Our objective was to determine if intraoperative injection of technetium-99m-labeled sulfur colloid is as effective as preoperative injection in the detection of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs).

Methods: Two hundred consecutive patients with breast cancer underwent SLN biopsy examination. Radiocolloid was injected in the preoperative area (group A) or immediately after induction of anesthesia in the operating room (group B).

Results: The SLN detection rate was similar for groups A (96%) and B (100%; P = .2). Radioactive SLNs were detected in 95% of patients in group A and in 97% of patients in group B (P = .1). The mean number of SLNs harvested was 1.6 and 2.1 for groups A and B, respectively. There was no significant difference in positive SLNs between groups (P = .11).

Conclusions: Intraoperative injection of sulfur colloid is highly effective in the detection of SLNs, avoiding patient discomfort and surgical schedule delays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.06.014DOI Listing
October 2006

Percutaneous excisional biopsy of palpable breast masses under ultrasound visualization.

Breast J 2006 Sep-Oct;12(5 Suppl 2):S218-22

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

A palpable breast mass is a common reason for surgical consultation. Our goal was to determine whether ultrasound-guided vacuum-assisted core biopsy (US-VACB) is safe and effective in completely removing presumed benign palpable breast masses. We conducted a cohort study of 201 consecutive patients with presumed benign palpable masses who underwent removal with US-VACB. The main outcome measured was the successful removal of palpable masses. Palpable masses were successfully removed with US-VACB in 99% of cases; 2% were cancer and 7.5% were atypical ductal hyperplasia or phyllodes tumor. Two clinical recurrences representing a seroma were seen on follow-up. US-VACB is safe and effective in the initial diagnosis and management of presumed benign palpable breast masses. It provides the benefits of percutaneous biopsy and the palpable abnormality no longer remains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1075-122X.2006.00325.xDOI Listing
October 2006

Outcomes of clinical and surgical assessment of women with pathological nipple discharge.

Am Surg 2006 Feb;72(2):124-8

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

There is no consensus about the diagnostic approach to pathologic nipple discharge (PND). We hypothesize that lactiferous duct excision (microdochectomy) or image-guided biopsy are safe and effective means of diagnosis of PND. Eighty-two patients with PND underwent history and physical exam followed by breast sonography and mammogram. Image-guided biopsy was done if imaging studies were positive, whereas microdochectomy was done if normal. Discharge was unilateral (96%), bloody (79%), and spontaneous (62%). The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for the detection of neoplasia were 0.07, 1.0, 1.0, and 0.4 for mammography and 0.26, 0.97, 0.91, and 0.48 for sonography, respectively. Tissue diagnosis revealed papillary lesion (57%), mammary duct ectasia (33%), breast cancer (5%), and inflammatory/infectious (5%) causes. Hemorrhagic discharge associated with pregnancy or infections was managed successfully without surgery. After a median follow-up of 18 months, no PND recurrence was seen, but one patient developed cancer in a different location after diagnosis of atypical ductal hyperplasia. In conclusion, imaging studies provide confirmatory information and a biopsy target when positive. Negative imaging does not reliably exclude neoplasia or malignancy. Microdochectomy provides a sensible and effective approach in the workup of patients with PND.
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February 2006

Outcomes of surgical and sonographic assessment of breast masses in women younger than 30.

Am Surg 2005 Sep;71(9):716-9

Section of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Bldg. 1 East, Room E-7, 1000 West Carson Street, Torrance CA 90509, USA.

Assessment of breast masses in young women is challenging due to normal glandular variance. Our purpose is to define the outcomes of specialized physical exam, selective breast sonography (BUS), and biopsy in women younger than 30. Five hundred forty-two patients younger than 30 referred with a palpable breast mass were studied. Patients' mean age was 24.8. Surgeon's physical exam confirmed a dominant mass in 44 per cent of cases. Thirty-seven per cent had normal clinical exams. Median tumor size was 2.2 cm. On multivariate analysis, a mass on surgeon's clinical exam (P < 0.0001), and BUS (P = 0.0001) predicted the presence of a true mass. Fifty-three per cent of self-detected abnormalities were true masses compared to 18 per cent when detected by the primary care provider (PCP) (P < 0.001). Most common diagnoses were fibroadenoma (72%), breast cysts (4%), or fibrocystic changes (3%). Malignancy occurred in 1 per cent. In summary, breast mass is a common reason for surgical consultation. Normal glandular nodularity is often mistaken for a mass. However, a judicious approach of physical exam by a surgeon using selective BUS and image guided core biopsy provides an efficient and safe approach for diagnosis. Breast malignancy is a rare but serious cause of breast mass in young women.
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September 2005

Blue dye of choice for lymphatic mapping.

Authors:
Hernan I Vargas

J Clin Oncol 2005 May;23(15):3648; author reply 3648-9

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2005.95.270DOI Listing
May 2005

Sentinel lymph node mapping of breast cancer: a case-control study of methylene blue tracer compared to isosulfan blue.

Am Surg 2004 Oct;70(10):872-5

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Isosulfan blue has been traditionally used as a tracer to map the lymphatic system during identification of the sentinel lymph node. However, allergic reactions may be life threatening. We compared the efficacy of methylene blue dye as a tracer for sentinel lymph node biopsy to isosulfan blue dye. In an analysis of 164 cases, there was no clinical or statistically significant difference in the success rate of sentinel node biopsy (P = 0.22), the number of blue sentinel nodes harvested (P = 0.46), the concordance with radioactive sentinel nodes (P = 0.92), or the incidence of metastases (P = 0.87) when methylene blue tracer was compared to isosulfan blue. No adverse reaction to either blue dye was observed. In conclusion, intraparenchymal injection of methylene blue dye is a reliable tracer for the lymphatic system and nodal identification during sentinel node mapping for breast cancer. It is safe, inexpensive, and readily available.
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October 2004

Diagnosis of palpable breast masses: ultrasound-guided large core biopsy in a multidisciplinary setting.

Am Surg 2004 Oct;70(10):867-71

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Cytologic diagnosis of palpable breast masses is an accepted method for diagnosis. However, the high nondiagnostic rate causes repeat biopsy, unnecessary delays, and increased costs. Our purpose is to evaluate the use of ultrasound (US)-guided large-core needle biopsy as part of the minimally invasive multidisciplinary diagnosis of palpable breast masses. We studied 502 consecutive patients with 510 palpable solid breast masses seen and evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. Patients had US-guided core biopsy. Clinical-imaging-pathologic correlation (CIPC) was done in all cases. Core biopsy was deemed conclusive if CIPC was congruent and was used to guide definitive management. The median age of our patients was 39 years. Median tumor size was 2.2 cm. Of these cases, 463 (91%) had a conclusive diagnosis on CIPC. Core needle findings on 47 masses were nondefinitive to guide therapy (fibroepithelial lesion, atypical ductal hyperplasia, intraductal papilloma, CIPC). Three cancers were detected in this group on excisional biopsy. In conclusion, US-guided large-core needle biopsy is a sensitive method for diagnosis of palpable breast masses. Multidisciplinary correlation of clinical findings, imaging, and pathology is essential for success. This approach improves use of operating room resources and maximizes patient participation in the decision-making process.
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October 2004

Outcomes of sonography-based management of breast cysts.

Am J Surg 2004 Oct;188(4):443-7

Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, 1000 W. Carson St., Box 25, Torrance, CA 90509, USA.

Background: Ultrasound is commonly used during diagnosis of breast lesions. Our purpose was to study the role of sonography for risk stratification of malignancy in the diagnosis and management of palpable breast cysts.

Methods: This was a cohort study of 176 patients with palpable breast cysts. Sonographic findings were correlated with clinical and pathologic outcomes.

Results: Mean cyst size was 2.0 +/- 1.8 cm. Cysts were simple, complex and probably benign, and complex and suspicious for neoplasm in 82.25%, 10.25% and 7.5% of patients, respectively. Thick cyst wall (P = 0.0001), mural tumor (P <0.00001), eccentric mass (P = 0.034), and internal septae (P = 0.031) were predictive of neoplasm. Of cysts >3 cm, 33% were cancerous (P = 0.000027). After 378 days of follow-up, 26 % of cysts had recurred. Recurrence was more frequent in patients with bilateral or multiple cysts (P = 0.004).

Conclusions: Sonography is useful in risk stratification of malignancy in breast cysts. There is a high risk of recurrence after cyst aspiration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2004.06.015DOI Listing
October 2004

Use of preoperative breast ultrasonography for mapping of breast cancer extent improves resection margins during breast conservation surgery.

Arch Surg 2004 Aug;139(8):863-7; discussion 867-9

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA, USA.

Background: Positive margins after breast conservation surgery occur frequently and negatively influence local control rates.

Hypothesis: Preoperative breast ultrasonography reduces the incidence of positive margins during breast conservation surgery.

Design: Case-control analysis.

Patients And Intervention: One hundred twenty-two consecutive patients with invasive breast cancer were studied. Palpation or needle-wire-guided breast conservation surgery was used in the first 61 patients (group 1). Preoperative breast ultrasonography was added to the protocol in the last 61 patients (group 2).

Main Outcome Measures: Incidence of positive margins, distance to closest margin.

Results: There was a 3.7-fold reduction in positive margins (P =.04, 95% confidence interval, 1.06-16.73) and improved resection margins (P =.04, 95% confidence interval, 0.14-3.88) when breast ultrasonography was used. Reexcision of margins was done in 11% (7 of 61 patients) in group 1 and 3% (2 of 61 patients) in group 2 (P =.17).

Conclusion: Preoperative breast ultrasonography improves the margins of resection and decreases the incidence of positive margins during breast conservation surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.139.8.863DOI Listing
August 2004

Focused microwave phased array thermotherapy for ablation of early-stage breast cancer: results of thermal dose escalation.

Ann Surg Oncol 2004 Feb;11(2):139-46

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Background: Tumor ablation as a means of treating breast cancer is being investigated. Microwave energy is promising because it can preferentially heat high-water-content breast carcinomas, compared to adipose and glandular tissues.

Methods: This is a prospective, multicenter, nonrandomized dose-escalation study of microwave treatment. Thermal dose was measured as (1) thermal equivalent minutes (cumulative equivalent minutes; CEM) of treatment relative to a temperature of 43 degrees C and (2) peak tumor temperature. Microwaves were guided by an antenna-temperature sensor placed percutaneously into the tumor. Outcomes measured were pathologic response (tumor necrosis) side effects.

Results: Twenty-five patients (mean age, 57 years) were enrolled. The mean tumor diameter was 1.8 cm. Tumoricidal temperatures (>43 degrees C) were reached in 23 patients (92%). Tumor size was unchanged after thermotherapy (P = not significant). Pathologic necrosis was achieved in 17 (68%) patients. Complete necrosis of the invasive component was achieved in two patients. One hundred forty CEM is predictive of a 50% tumor response, and 210 CEM is predictive of a 100% tumor response (P =.003). Univariate linear regression predicts that peak tumor temperatures of 47.4 degrees C and 49.7 degrees C cause a 50% tumor response and a 100% tumor response, respectively.

Conclusions: Thermotherapy causes tumor necrosis and can be performed safely with minimal morbidity. The degree of tumor necrosis is a function of the thermal dose. Future studies will evaluate the impact of high doses of thermotherapy on margin status and complete tumor ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1245/aso.2004.03.059DOI Listing
February 2004

Lymphatic tumor burden negatively impacts the ability to detect the sentinel lymph node in breast cancer.

Am Surg 2003 Oct;69(10):886-90

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is the preferred method of nodal breast cancer staging. Techniques of SLN biopsy rely on transport of interstitial molecules through mammary lymphatics. Lymphatic flow may be disrupted by tumor emboli. Increased lymphatic tumor burden may be responsible for failure to identify the sentinel lymph node in patients with breast cancer. A prospective database of 110 patients who had SLN biopsy between January 2001 and December 2002 was analyzed. The number of metastatic axillary lymph nodes was used as a measure of lymphatic tumor burden. SLN was found in 94 per cent of cases. It was not found in seven patients; five of them had extensive axillary metastases (71%) compared to 23 per cent when SLN was found (P = 0.001). The average number of metastatic lymph nodes was larger when SLN was not found compared to when SLN was found (12.8 vs. 3.9, respectively, P = 0.002). Increasing numbers of metastatic nodes correlated with decreasing success in SLN biopsy (P = 0.075). The incidence of axillary metastases is higher in patients in whom the sentinel node is not found. High lymphatic tumor burden may have a causative role in SLN biopsy technical failure. Axillary dissection should be performed if SLN is not found, regardless of the tumor size or histology.
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October 2003

Success of sentinel lymph node mapping after breast cancer ablation with focused microwave phased array thermotherapy.

Am J Surg 2003 Oct;186(4):330-2

Division of Surgical Oncology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1000 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90509, USA.

Background: Breast cancer tumor ablation as part of a multimodality approach in the treatment of breast cancer is the subject of recent interest. This study was conducted to determine if the ability to perform sentinel node biopsy was impaired after thermal-induced ablation of breast cancer.

Methods: We studied patients who had sentinel node biopsy after preoperative focused microwave phased array for breast cancer ablation.

Results: Twenty-one patients with T1-T2 breast cancer and clinically negative axilla underwent wide local excision and sentinel node biopsy guided by blue dye and sulfur colloid. Surgery was done an average of 17 days after microwave ablation. Fifteen of 22 patients (68%) had histologic evidence of tumor necrosis. Sentinel lymph node mapping was successful in 19 of 21 patients (91%). Axillary metastases were detected in 42% of cases.

Conclusions: This study documents successful sentinel lymph node mapping for patients treated with antecedent local tumor ablation using focused microwave phased array ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0002-9610(03)00267-8DOI Listing
October 2003

Implementation of a minimally invasive breast biopsy program in countries with limited resources.

Breast J 2003 May-Jun;9 Suppl 2:S81-5

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90509, USA.

Minimally invasive breast biopsy techniques, such as core needle biopsy (CNB) and fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), offer several advantages over surgical biopsy. Patients in whom minimally invasive biopsy techniques are used may undergo biopsy more quickly, are more likely to have only one surgery for treatment of the breast tumor and axillary staging, and are less likely to need reoperation after breast-conserving surgery because of positive margins. Knowledge of a diagnosis of cancer before surgery allows patients to participate in treatment decisions, and compared with surgical biopsy, minimally invasive biopsy has lower costs, produces less scarring, has nearly equivalent diagnostic accuracy, and does not require general anesthesia or sedation. Minimally invasive biopsy can permit accurate diagnosis and prompt intervention in a cost-effective manner, particularly in countries with limited resources, where patients often present with advanced-stage breast cancer. Several events characterize the implementation of a successful program in minimally invasive breast biopsy: public education about the less invasive nature of these techniques, which may encourage women to seek care at earlier stages; a change in the philosophy of medical personnel that favors involving patients in treatment decisions and acceptance of less extensive but accurate methods of diagnosis; education of medical personnel in the selection of patients for minimally invasive biopsy, performance of the biopsy, and interpretation of histologic and/or cytologic samples; quality assessment and use of the triple test (i.e., correlation of clinical, radiologic, and pathologic findings); and economical use of resources, which results from the lower costs of minimally invasive procedures and the avoidance of unnecessary surgery for benign conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1524-4741.9.s2.8.xDOI Listing
October 2003

Diagnosis of breast cancer in countries with limited resources.

Breast J 2003 May-Jun;9 Suppl 2:S60-6

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90509, USA.

Accurate diagnosis is a necessary step in the management of breast cancer. In women with breast cancer, diagnosis can confirm the presence of the disease, reduce treatment delays, and clarify the predictive and prognostic features of the cancer, which help in planning treatment and counseling women. In women with benign breast conditions, accurate diagnosis avoids erroneous treatment for breast cancer, which can have devastating consequences for the woman and unnecessarily consumes resources. The panel distinguishes between a "clinical diagnosis" of breast cancer (one based on signs and symptoms and imaging findings) and a "pathologic diagnosis" of breast cancer (one based on microscopic examination of cellular or tissue samples). The panel agrees that all women should have a pathologic diagnosis of breast cancer before they are given definitive treatment for the disease, no matter how strongly their clinical findings suggest cancer. The tools for clinical diagnosis include history, clinical breast examination, ultrasound, and diagnostic mammography; these tools provide valuable information and play important supplemental roles in ascertaining the presence of breast cancer. Mammography and ultrasound also help determine the extent of disease within the breast, which is essential when breast-conserving therapy can be offered to women. The tools for pathologic diagnosis include fine-needle aspiration biopsy, core needle biopsy, and standard surgical biopsy. The panel noted that each of these tools has potential benefits and limitations in the limited-resource setting, and concluded that the choice among them must be based on the available tools and expertise. The triple test-checking for correlation of pathology findings, imaging findings, and clinical findings-was identified as a critical practice in diagnosing breast cancer. Panelists uniformly agreed that mastectomy should not be used to diagnose breast cancer, noting that accurate diagnosis can be made by less invasive means. Expertise in pathology was identified as a key requirement for ensuring reliable diagnostic findings. Several approaches were proposed for improving breast pathology, including training pathologists, establishing pathology services in centralized facilities, and organizing international pathology services.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1524-4741.9.s2.5.xDOI Listing
October 2003

Overview of breast health care guidelines for countries with limited resources.

Breast J 2003 May-Jun;9 Suppl 2:S42-50

Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.

Among women around the globe, breast cancer is both the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death. Women in economically disadvantaged countries have a lower incidence of breast cancer, but poorer survival rates for the disease relative to women in affluent countries. Evidence suggests that breast cancer mortality can be reduced if resources are applied to the problem in a systematic way. The purpose of the Global Summit Consensus Conference was to begin a process to develop guidelines for improving breast health care in countries with limited resources-those with either low- or medium-level resources based on World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Breast cancer experts and patient advocates representing 17 countries and 9 world regions participated in the conference. They reviewed the existing breast health guidelines, which generally assume unlimited resources. Individual panels then discussed and debated how limited resources can best be applied to improve three areas of breast health care--early detection, diagnosis, and treatment--and how to integrate these areas in building a breast health care program. The panelists unanimously agreed on the guiding principle that all women have the right to access to health care. They also agreed that collecting data on breast cancer is imperative for deciding how best to apply resources and for measuring progress. The panelists acknowledged the considerable challenges in implementing breast health care programs when resources are limited, as well as the need to build a program that is specific to each country's unique situation. The panelists noted that the development of centralized, specialized cancer centers may be a cost-effective way to deliver breast cancer care to some women when it is not possible to deliver such care to women nationwide. In countries with limited resources, at least half of the women have advanced or metastatic breast cancer at the time of diagnosis. Because advanced breast cancer has the poorest survival rate and is the most resource intensive to treat, measures to reduce the stage at diagnosis are likely to have the greatest overall benefit in terms of both survival and costs. Women should have access to diagnosis and treatment if efforts are undertaken to improve early detection of breast cancer. The panels' findings outline specific steps for prioritizing the use of limited resources to decrease the impact of breast cancer around the globe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1524-4741.9.s2.3.xDOI Listing
October 2003

Immediate preoperative injection of 99m-Tc sulfur colloid is effective in the detection of breast sentinel lymph nodes.

Am Surg 2002 Dec;68(12):1083-7

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA.

Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is an accurate technique to determine the metastatic status of lymph nodes. Radionuclide guidance makes the procedure easier and improves the success rate. Coordinating the operating room and nuclear medicine schedules causes delays when same-day radionuclide injection is used. We hypothesized that injection of 99m-Tc sulfur colloid immediately preoperatively is effective in SLN detection. We analyzed a prospective database of 70 patients treated at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The first 39 patients underwent completion axillary dissection (Group A) and subdermal injection of sulfur colloid immediately before surgery. A second group of 31 patients (Group B) had intraparenchymal injection immediately before surgery. We used isosulfan blue in all cases. SLNs were identified in 97 per cent of cases. SLNs were radioactive in 94 per cent and blue in 90 per cent. In Group A the accuracy and the positive and negative predictive values of SLN biopsy were 100 per cent. SLN counts per second ranged from 22 to 1700. The mean count per second was 290 +/- 281 (mean +/- standard deviation). Subdermal and intraparenchymal injections were equally successful (93% vs 92%). In conclusion injection of radiocolloid and isosulfan blue immediately preoperatively is highly successful and accurate in the detection of SLNs in breast cancer. It avoids operating room schedule delays.
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December 2002

The role of nuclear medicine in breast cancer detection: a focus on Technetium-99 Sestamibi scintimammography.

Curr Oncol Rep 2003 Jan;5(1):58-62

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Research and Educational Institute, 1000 West Carson Street, Box 25, Torrance, CA 90509, USA.

Screening mammography in women aged over 50 years reduces breast cancer death by 30%. However, because mammography cannot accurately differentiate benign from malignant lesions, many mammography-directed breast biopsies are benign. In the past decade, methods of "functional breast imaging," including magnetic resonance imaging, scintimammography using single photon emission tomography, and positron emission tomography, have improved the sensitivity and specificity rates of conventional mammography for the detection of breast cancer. The higher specificity of scintimammography is feeding current enthusiasm for the study of its role in early breast cancer detection, as a complement to mammography in the evaluation of indeterminate lesions, and for use in noninvasive axillary staging. This article reviews the applications of radionuclide technology in breast cancer diagnosis and surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11912-003-0087-6DOI Listing
January 2003

A validation trial of subdermal injection compared with intraparenchymal injection for sentinel lymph node biopsy in breast cancer.

Am Surg 2002 Jan;68(1):87-91

Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90505, USA.

Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is increasingly being used as an accurate and less morbid surrogate for axillary dissection. However, a standardized technique in the biopsy of SLNs is not used. Some authors propose subdermal injection to be as accurate as peritumoral intraparenchymal injection (IPI). Our objective is to determine whether the SLNs identified by subdermal injection truly represent SLNs and match those found with IPI. Specific end points of the study were 1) successful localization of the SLN by the IPI of isosulfan blue or the radiocolloid intradermal injection, 2) successful uptake of radiocolloid and isosulfan blue on individual SLN, and 3) determination of the frequency with which the radiocolloid injection detected the "gold standard" blue SLN. SLNs were found in 71 of 73 cases (success rate = 97%). Blue SLNs were identified in 64 patients (88%). SLNs in 61 patients (84%) were radioactive. A total of 112 SLNs were identified in 71 patients (1.6 nodes/patient). Seventy-six of 87 SLNs found with IPI were also radioactive (concordance of 87%). All SLNs harboring metastatic cancer (16 patients) were found by both techniques, being both blue and radioactive. Our results support the concept of shared lymphatic pathways in the breast with a high degree of communication between the subdermal lymphatics and the intraparenchymal lymphatics. The success in identification of the SLN is made simpler and improved by the addition of subdermal radiocolloid injection.
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January 2002

Management of bloody nipple discharge.

Curr Treat Options Oncol 2002 Apr;3(2):157-61

Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1000 W. Carson Street, Box 25, Torrance, CA 90502, USA.

Bloody nipple discharge causes a high degree of anxiety in women because of fear of breast cancer. Commonly, the absence of palpable or mammographic abnormalities gives a false sense of security, causing delays in diagnosis. Initial evaluation with physical examination and mammography is useful in detecting high-risk cases. Bloody nipple discharge is most frequently benign. It is caused by intraductal papilloma, duct ectasia, and less frequently by breast cancer. Several diagnostic tests have been proposed to establish the cause of bloody nipple discharge. Galactography, ultrasound, and exfoliative cytology are useful only when positive, but have a high rate of false-negative results and do not preclude histologic diagnosis. More recently, ductal lavages in combination with cytology have provided promising results, but experience and long-term follow-up are limited. Traditional treatment is surgical excision of the involved ductal system from which the discharge emanates. Ductal excision has been the only reliable procedure in establishing a certain diagnosis and in controlling the bloody discharge. The early success reported with image-guided excision of papilloma and duct endoscopy promises a significant improvement in our diagnostic accuracy from minimally invasive emerging technology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11864-002-0061-9DOI Listing
April 2002

Focused microwave phased array thermotherapy for primary breast cancer.

Ann Surg Oncol 2002 May;9(4):326-32

Center for Breast Care, Columbia Hospital, West Palm Beach, Florida 33407, USA.

Background: A pilot safety study of focused microwave phased array thermotherapy in the treatment of primary breast carcinomas was conducted.

Methods: Ten patients with breast carcinomas beneath the skin surface that ranged in maximal clinical size from 1 to 8 cm (mean, 4.3 cm) were treated with the breast compressed in the prone position. We planned to deliver a tumor thermal dose equivalent to 60 minutes at 43 degrees C. Breast imaging and pathology data were used to assess efficacy.

Results: For the 10 patients, the mean tumor equivalent thermal dose was 51.7 minutes, the mean peak tumor temperature was 44.9 degrees C, and the mean treatment time was 34.7 minutes. Ultrasound imaging demonstrated a significant reduction in tumor size (mean, 41%) 5 to 18 days after thermotherapy in 6 (60%) of 10 patients. A significant tumor response on the basis of reduction in tumor size or significant tumor cell kill occurred in 8 (80%) of 10 patients.

Conclusions: With sufficient skin cooling, delivery of focused microwave phased array thermotherapy is safe in treating breast carcinomas when used alone, and some potential efficacy was demonstrated at the tumor thermal doses administered. Increased tumor thermal dose efficacy studies in larger patient populations for improved breast conservation should be investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02573866DOI Listing
May 2002

Tc-99m Sestamibi Scintimammography for the Evaluation of Breast Masses in Patients with Radiographically Dense Breasts.

Breast J 1999 Nov;5(6):383-388

Departments of Radiology, Pathology, and Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, and PEM Technologies, Bethesda, Maryland.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of technetium-99m sestamibi (MIBI) scintimammography for the diagnosis of breast cancer in patients with palpable breast masses that cannot be adequately evaluated by mammography due to the presence of radiographically dense breasts. At 5 minutes after intravenous injection of MIBI, scintimammograms were obtained in 80 patients who had grade 3 or 4 glandular density on mammograms and a palpable breast mass. Excisional biopsy or FNA biopsy was obtained in 68 lesions in 67 patients. Scintimammography (22 true positive, 4 false positive, 41 true negative, 1 false negative) resulted in a sensitivity of 95.6%, specificity 91.1%, positive predictive value 84.6%, and negative predictive value 97.6%. Mammography (19 true positive, 21 false positive, 24 true negative, 4 false negative) resulted in a sensitivity of 73.9%, specificity 53.3%, positive predictive value 44.7%, and negative predictive value 80%. MIBI scintimammography has a higher sensitivity and specificity than mammography in patients with radiographically dense breasts. It is useful as an adjunct to mammography in those patients with radiographically dense breasts for the characterization of palpable masses. Although sensitivity of mammography in this cohort was high, its specificity was significantly lower than scintimammography. If validated in prospective studies it could provide a safe way of avoiding a breast biopsy in patients with benign findings on clinical exam, mammography, and needle aspiration cytology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1524-4741.1999.98086.xDOI Listing
November 1999