Published: 2022-04-26

Role of magnetic resonance imaging in detection of metastatic axillary lymph nodes in breast cancer patients

Rohit Singh, Bhavinder Kumar Arora, Vijay Pal, Gourav Mittal, Monika Shekhawat


Background: Magnetic resonance imaging has been evolved as a very important tool in diagnosing the axillary lymph nodes pre-operatively. In recent studies, in women with various risk profiles, the sensitivity ranges between 81% and 100%, which is approximately twice as high as the sensitivity of mammography.

Methods: This prospective study was performed at PGIMS, Haryana from December 2018 to March 2020. Total 30 patients (n=30) were included in the study. All the patients presenting with clinically palpable breast lump, underwent triple assessment test. All the patient underwent modified radical mastectomy and the final histopathological report of the specimen was then compared with the preoperative clinical and MRI assessment of the metastatic axillary lymph nodes.

Results: This study aimed at detection of axillary lymph node metastasis in breast malignancies by breast MRI. The sensitivity of this MRI came to be about 80.00%, specificity of about 80%, positive predictive value of about 95.24%, negative predictive value of about 44.44% and accuracy of about 80.0% with 95% confidence interval.

Conclusions: Magnetic resonance imaging is a very important investigation in detection of breast malignancies, their depth, muscles and skin involvement as well as axillary lymph node detection. Axillary lymph nodes can although be detected by clinical examination, but problem lies in their sensitivity and specificity as axillary lymph nodes of small size cannot be detected by clinical examination.


Breast cancer, Breast malignancy, MRI, Axillary lymph nodes, Metastatic axillary lymph nodes

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