Researchers have discovered a non-invasive way to identify lymph node metastasis, which could spare patients the effects often associated with a lymph node biopsy.
Using two cell surface markers found to be highly expressed in breast cancer, a study has managed to develop a targeted, fluorescent molecular imaging probe that can detect lymph node metastases.
Moffitt Cancer Centre researchers hope that their device will pass through the trail stages to protect breast cancer patients from the invasive and unreliable sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy and surgery, which often leads to side effects.
Dr David L Morse, corresponding author of the study, commented: “The majority of breast cancer patients, up to 74 per cent, who undergo SLN biopsy are found to be negative for axillary nodal, or ALN, metastases.”
Because of this, a non-invasive detection method is vital.
However, a SLN biopsy is believed to yield better arm function and quality of life than a standard dissection or removal of lymph nodes.
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