Purpose: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonograph and fine-needle aspiration cytologicexamination (USG-FNAC) in the staging of axillary lymph node metastasis in breast cancer patients.
Methods:We conducted an electronic search of the literature addressing the performance of USG-FNAC in diagnosis ofaxillary lymph node metastasis in databases such as Pubmed, Medline, Embase, Ovid and Cochrane library. Weintroduced a series of diagnostic test indices to evaluate the performance of USG-FNAC by the random effectmodel (REM), including sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, and diagnostic odds ratios and area under thecurve (AUC).
Results: A total of 20 studies including 1371 cases and 1289 controls were identified. The pooledsensitivity was determined to be 0.66 (95% CI 0.64-0.69), specificity 0.98 (95% CI 0.98-0.99), positive likelihoodratio 22.7 (95% CI 15.0-34.49), negative likelihood ratio 0.32 (95% CI 0.25-0.41), diagnostic OR 84.2 (95% CI53.3-133.0). Due to the marginal threshold effect found in some indices of diagnostic validity, we used a summarySROC curve to aggregate data, and obtained a symmetrical curve with an AUC of 0.942.
Conclusion: The resultsof this meta-analysis indicated that the USG-FNAC techniques have acceptable diagnostic validity indices andcan be used for early staging of axillary lymph node in breast cancer patients.