Background: This article aims to assess the diagnostic performance of ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (US-FNA) in diagnosing axillary lymph node (ALN) recurrence in patients with a history of breast cancer. Methods: From January 2005 to June 2015, 231 US-FNA examinations performed for suspicious axillary lesions in 218 patients with a history of breast cancer were included. Diagnostic performance of US-FNA for ALN recurrence were evaluated. Results: Of the 231 US-FNA examinations, 172 (74.5%) obtained negative and 59 (25.5%) obtained positive cytological results. All US-FNA-negative axillary lesions were considered imaging-cytology concordant and underwent follow-up, with one false-negative result (false negative rate, 1.6% [1/60]). The overall sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of US-FNA for diagnosing ALN recurrence/metastasis per examination were 98.3% (59/60), 100% (171/171), 100% (59/59) and 99.4% (171/172). When excluding nine patients with newly developed contralateral breast cancer, the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of US-FNA for diagnosing ALN recurrence was 98.1% (51/52),100% (170/170),100% (51/51) and 99.4% (170/171). Conclusions: US-FNA is a reliable method for diagnosing axillary recurrence in patients with a history of breast cancer.
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