Sentinel node biopsy for high-risk nonmelanoma cutaneous malignancy

Jeffrey D Wagner, David Z Evdokimow, Edward Weisberger, David Moore, Tsu-Yi Chuang, Stacie Wenck, John J Coleman
Archives of Dermatology 2004, 140 (1): 75-9

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility of sentinel node staging for detection of occult regional lymph node metastasis in high-risk cutaneous nonmelanoma malignancies.

DESIGN: Consecutive clinical case series.

SETTING: Referral university medical center.

PATIENTS: A consecutive sample of patients with a variety of high-risk nonmelanoma cutaneous malignancies without evidence of regional lymph node metastases.

INTERVENTION: Sentinel node biopsies were performed using preoperative lymphoscintigraphy, blue dye, and intraoperative radiolocalization.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Sensitivity, determined by comparing the results of biopsy specimen evaluation with those of completion lymphadenectomy and/or clinical follow-up.

RESULTS: Twenty-four patients underwent sentinel node biopsy for the staging of 29 nodal basins identified by lymphoscintigraphy. Primary diagnoses were squamous cell carcinoma (n = 17), Merkel cell carcinoma (n = 5), and adenocarcinoma (n = 2). Seven patients (29%) had a tumor-positive sentinel node. Sentinel node biopsy followed by complete lymphadenectomy was performed in 12 patients and sentinel node biopsy alone in 12 patients. Tumor-positive lymph nodes were noted in 8 patients, 7 of whom also had positive sentinel nodes. There was 1 false-positive result (1/8 [12%]), in a patient with recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the scalp. At a median follow-up of 10 months, no recurrences in a sentinel node-negative basin have been noted. Compared with all information, the sensitivity of sentinel node staging was 88% and the negative predictive value was 0.94.

CONCLUSIONS: Sentinel node biopsy is a minimally invasive staging procedure useful in identifying occult regional lymph node disease in selected patients with nonmelanoma cutaneous malignancies. Further studies to verify these findings and develop formal guidelines are indicated.


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