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One-third of breast cancers present as non-palpable lesions. The current gold standard treatment for these cancers is localized wide local excision using wire-guided localization (WGL). WGL has drawbacks including technical and scheduling issues resulting in the development of alternative radioguided techniques (RGL). A systematic review was performed to identify studies comparing RGL and WGL. The outcomes of surgical margin status, re-operation rates, surgical operative time, volume and excised specimen weight and successful sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) rates were evaluated. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals were estimated using fixed-effects analyses and random-effects analyses in case of statistically significant heterogeneity (p < 0.05). Seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) matching the inclusion criteria were identified. The pooled ORs for involved surgical margin status were 0.78 (95 % CI, 0.52-1.17); for re-operations 0.74 (95 % CI, 0.49-1.11) and for successful SLNB 1.29 (95 % CI, 0.66-2.53). There was a significant difference in surgical operating time in favour of RGL (mean difference (MD), -2.95; 95 % CI, -4.43, -1.47) and a significant difference in excised specimen volume, favouring WGL (MD, 6.79; 95 % CI, 0.03, 13.56). The MD for a specimen weight of -3.00 (95 % CI, -15.15, 9.15) showed no significant difference between RGL and WGL. RGL has a reduced operating time, but larger volume excisions compared to WGL. There is insufficient evidence to support the uptake of RGL over WGL, and larger, adequately powered, multi-centre RCTs are required.

Original publication




Journal article


Breast cancer res treat

Publication Date





241 - 252


Breast Neoplasms, Female, Humans, Mastectomy, Segmental, Palpation, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Reoperation, Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy, Treatment Outcome