Patterns of regional and distant metastasis in patients with eyelid and periocular squamous cell carcinoma

Misha Faustina, Roxana Diba, M Amir Ahmadi, Brett F Gutstein, Bita Esmaeli
Ophthalmology 2004, 111 (10): 1930-2

PURPOSE: To determine the frequency and location of regional lymph node metastasis in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the eyelid and periocular skin. Patterns of distant metastasis were also investigated.

DESIGN: Retrospective case series.

PATIENTS: One hundred eleven patients treated at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for SCC of the eyelid and periocular skin between 1952 and 2000.

METHODS: The clinical records of the 111 patients were retrospectively reviewed. The clinical characteristics analyzed included age, gender, location of lesion, treatment modalities, patterns of regional nodal and distant metastasis, and perineural invasion. Follow-up time ranged from 6 to 484 months (median, 76.6).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Incidence of regional lymph node metastasis.

RESULTS: The most common sites of SCC were the lower eyelid (54 patients [48.6%]), the medial canthus (40 patients [36.0%]), and the upper eyelid (25 patients [22.5%]). Local treatment of SCC consisted of wide local excision with frozen section analysis to ensure negative margins in 96 patients (86.4%), radiotherapy (without surgery) in 7 patients, and primary exenteration because of extensive tumor in 7 patients. Local recurrence occurred in 41 patients (36.9%). Twenty-seven patients (24.3%) had regional nodal metastasis during the study period. Sixteen of these patients had regional lymph node metastasis at the time of the initial presentation to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Eleven developed regional nodal disease later. Seven patients (6.2%) had distant metastasis during the study period. Nine patients (8.1%) had perineural invasion.

CONCLUSION: This study indicates that the overall rate of regional lymph node metastasis in patients with SCC of the eyelid or periocular skin may be as high as 24%. Thus, careful surveillance of the regional lymph nodes is an important aspect of the initial management of eyelid or periocular skin SCC. Consideration could be given to studying sentinel lymph node biopsy as a technique to stage SCC of the eyelid or periocular skin more accurately, especially in patients with recurrent, large, or highly invasive lesions or with perineural invasion.

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