DOI: 10.1001/jamasurg.2023.6520 ISSN: 2168-6254

Magnetic Seed vs Guidewire Breast Cancer Localization With Magnetic Lymph Node Detection

Eirini Pantiora, Allan Jazrawi, Abdi-Fatah Hersi, Shahin Abdsaleh, Hanna Ahlstedt, Eva Molnar, Fredrik Wärnberg, Staffan Eriksson, Andreas Karakatsanis
  • Surgery


Guidewires have been the standard for breast lesion localization but pose operative and logistic challenges. Paramagnetic seeds have shown promising results, but to the authors’ knowledge, no randomized comparison has been performed.


To determine whether the combination of a paramagnetic seed and superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) is equivalent to guidewire and SPIO for breast cancer localization and sentinel lymph node detection (SLND).

Design, Setting, and Participants

This was a phase 3, pragmatic, equivalence, 2-arm, open-label, randomized clinical trial conducted at 3 university and/or community hospitals in Sweden from May 2018 to May 2022. Included in the study were patients with early breast cancer planned for breast conservation and SLND. Study data were analyzed July to November 2022.


Participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to a paramagnetic seed or a guidewire. All patients underwent SLND with SPIO.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Re-excision rate and resection ratio (defined as actual resection volume / optimal resection volume).


A total of 426 women (median [IQR] age, 65 [56-71] years; median [IQR] tumor size, 11 [8-15] mm) were included in the study. The re-excision rate was 2.90% (95% CI, 1.60%-4.80%), and the median (IQR) resection ratio was 1.96 (1.15-3.44). No differences were found between the guidewire and the seed in re-excisions (6 of 211 [2.84%] vs 6 of 209 [2.87%]; difference, −0.03%; 95% CI, −3.20% to 3.20%; P = .99) or resection ratio (median, 1.93; IQR, 1.18-3.43 vs median, 2.01; IQR, 1.11-3.47; P = .70). Overall SLN detection was 98.6% (95% CI, 97.1%-99.4%) with no differences between arms (203 of 207 [98.1%] vs 204 of 206 [99.0%]; difference, −0.9%; 95% CI, −3.6% to 1.8%; P = .72). More failed localizations occurred with the guidewire (21 of 208 [10.1%] vs 4 of 215 [1.9%]; difference, 8.2%; 95% CI, 3.3%-13.2%; P < .001). Median (IQR) time to specimen excision was shorter for the seed (15 [10-22] minutes vs 18 [12-30] minutes; P = .01), as was the total operative time (69 [56-86] minutes vs 75.5 [59-101] minutes; P = .03). The experience of surgeons, radiologists, and surgical coordinators was better with the seed.

Conclusions and Relevance

The combination of SPIO and a paramagnetic seed performed comparably with SPIO and guidewire for breast cancer conserving surgery and resulted in more successful localizations, shorter operative times, and better experience.

Trial Registration Identifier: ISRCTN11914537

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