Optimized Strategy for Lymph Node Analysis Studied

April 1, 2002
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 16 No 4, Volume 16, Issue 4

ChromaVision Medical Systems, Inc, announced recently that investigators using their automated cellular imaging system (ACIS) concluded that the number of metastatic tumor cells found in the sentinel lymph node correlates with the size of the primary breast tumor.

ChromaVision Medical Systems, Inc, announced recentlythat investigators using their automated cellular imaging system (ACIS)concluded that the number of metastatic tumor cells found in the sentinel lymphnode correlates with the size of the primary breast tumor. The data, which werepresented at the 24th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, showed thatsentinel nodes from patients with small primary tumors have fewer tumor cellsand would require more extensive sectioning to detect metastases.

When cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, tumor analysis can be performedwhile the tumor is still relatively small. According to ChromaVision, the ACISdigital microscope platform makes it practical to examine a greater number oflymph node sections than is possible by manual evaluation, thus improving thefeasibility of this type of testing and increasing the likelihood of detectingany metastases that may be present. The ACIS system is designed to assist thepathologist by detecting, counting, and classifying cells of clinical interestbased on the recognition of color, size, and shape.

Sentinel lymph node analysis, in which the first one to three lymph nodes toreceive drainage from the breast are tested for the presence of metastaticcancer cells, is becoming increasingly popular. This analysis provides analternative to the traditional method of removing 20 to 30 lymph nodes from thearmpit. Up to 80% of women who undergo the more extensive surgery experiencemild to severe complications ranging from chronic pain to lymphedema.

New Level of Sensitivity

"The ability of the ACIS to rapidly and accurately detect rare tumorcells brings a new level of sensitivity to lymph node analysis," saidprincipal investigator Kenneth J. Bloom, MD, assistant professor of pathology,and director of laboratory operations at Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke’s MedicalCenter in Chicago. "By using ACIS, physicians can more thoroughly analyzesentinel nodes than is practical manually, and more accurately assess the truestage or spread of a patient’s disease. In our laboratory at Rush, we usethe ACIS system not only in our research studies, but in the clinicaltesting of a variety of breast cancer markers."