Evaluation of Sensitivity and Specificity of Ultrasound-Guided FNA of Suspicious Axillary Lymph Nodes in Patients with Breast Cancer

Background: The axillary lymph node status in breast cancer is a major prognostic factor in survival and establishing a personalized treatment scheme. The ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (US-FNA) is a method for taking a lymph node sample. It allows physicians to decide how to manage the axilla. Objectives: This study was conducted to investigate the sensitivity of the US-FNA technique on suspicious axillary lymph nodes with a thickness of 3 to 6 mm in breast cancer patients. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, all the patients were subjected to preoperative ultrasound evaluation of the axilla to determine the presence of lymph nodes suspicious of malignancy. In cases where the suspicious lymph node cortex size was between 3 and 6 mm, US-FNA was performed. After surgery, the frozen section of the biopsy sample was examined histologically and compared with fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology results. Results: A total of 102 patients were examined in the study. FNA test results indicated that 46 subjects had axillary malignant tissue, and benign cases summed 56. Also, the final results of frozen section surgical histopathology identified 46.1% of patients with involved lymph nodes. The sensitivity and specificity of FNA were 93.62% and 96.36%, respectively. Also, the overall diagnostic accuracy was 95.1%. Conclusions: This study showed that the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were more than 90% for the ultrasound-guided FNA test in identifying involved lymph nodes in patients with breast cancer. Therefore, the results of this test can be considered clinically reliable. However, there is still a need to examine the sensitivity and specificity of this method in identifying lymph node involvement.