Indocyanine Green Fluorescence Versus Blue Dye or Radioisotope Regarding Detection Rate of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and Nodes Removed in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 Department of Surgery, Panyananthaphikkhu Chonprathan Medical center, Srinakharinwirot University, Nonthaburi, Thailand.

2 Division of Head Neck and Breast Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Background: Either blue dye (BD) or radioisotope (RI) is mainly used for sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in breast cancer patients. Unlike the BD, RI has lower false-negative rate of SLNB. However, its lymphoscintigraphy, difficulty in preoperative injection, and undetected sentinel lymph nodes in some cases cause surgeons to rely only on BD. Currently, indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescence method (ICG-SLNB) is increasingly used as an alternative to the conventional mapping methods in many centers. This systematic review compared ICG with the conventional method of BD or RI in terms of detection rate of SLNB and the number of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) removed in. Methods:  We searched all relevant studies published between January 2000 and October 2019. All data on for evaluation of SLN detection rate, number of SLNs removed per patient, and tumor positive rate of SLNB were extracted. Results: A total of 30 studies, including 4,216 SLN procedures were retrieved. There was a statistically significant difference between ICG and BD method in terms of SLN detection rate (OR, 6.73; 95% CI, 4.20-10.78). However, there was no significant difference between ICG and RI in this regard (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.40-2.03). The number of SLNs removed per patient were 2.35 (1.46-5.4), 1.92 (1.0-3.64), and 1.72 (1.35-2.08) for ICG, BD, and RI, respectively. Only in 8 studies, the tumor positive rates in SLNB could be analyzed (ICG, 8.5-20.7%; BD, 12.7-21.4%; RI, 11.3-16%). Conclusion: ICG-SLNB could be an additional or an alternative method for axillary node mapping in breast cancer.


Main Subjects

Volume 21, Issue 5
May 2020
Pages 1187-1195
  • Receive Date: 26 December 2019
  • Revise Date: 24 January 2020
  • Accept Date: 17 May 2020
  • First Publish Date: 17 May 2020