Aims: It is proposed that sentinel node biopsy should replace axillary lymph-node dissection. We analysed the role of a coordinator in the introduction of the sentinel node biopsy in breast cancer in a multi-centre setting to assure standardization and quality control. Methods: We included 232 operable breast cancer patients. Part of the procedure was an ultrasound examination of the axilla with fine needle aspiration cytology. The sentinel node was identified with 99m-Technetium and Patent Blue. Results: The results of the procedure, sensitivity and false negativity, were the same for the three participating hospitals. We think this is mostly due to the coordinator who supplied information about the technique, pitfalls and results to all teams. Conclusions: Our experience regarding the organization aspects of introducing the sentinel node procedure in a multicentre setting now serves as a model in organizing its application in a much wider number of hospitals. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.