Sentinel lymph node biopsy for sebaceous cell carcinoma and melanoma of the ocular adnexa

Viet H Ho, Merrick I Ross, Victor G Prieto, Aisha Khaleeq, Stella Kim, Bita Esmaeli
Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 2007, 133 (8): 820-6

OBJECTIVE: To provide clinical details and long-term outcome data for a series of patients with eyelid or conjunctival melanoma or eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma who underwent sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy.

DESIGN: Retrospective interventional case series with review of clinical records and pathologic specimens.

SETTING: Tertiary comprehensive cancer center.

PATIENTS: Twenty-five consecutive patients treated at 1 institution for eyelid or conjunctival melanoma or eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma from December 2000 to October 2004.

INTERVENTIONS: Surgical removal of the eyelid or conjunctival tumor and SLN biopsy.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Local treatment modalities; lymphatic basins in which SLNs were identified; status of SLNs; false-negative rate; and long-term patterns of local recurrence, regional and distant metastasis, and survival.

RESULTS: Seven patients had conjunctival melanoma, 8 had eyelid-margin melanoma with a considerable palpebral conjunctival component, and 10 had eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma. The SLNs were identified in all but 1 patient by using technetium Tc 99m sulfur colloid as a tracer. Intraoperatively, in 16 patients in whom blue dye was used in addition to technetium Tc 99m sulfur colloid during mapping, no SLN was blue. One patient with conjunctival melanoma and 1 patient with eyelid melanoma had a histologically positive SLN. Two patients with eyelid melanoma and 2 patients with eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma had negative findings from SLN biopsy but developed recurrence in their regional lymph nodes during the follow-up period. Overall, during follow-up, 2 of 10 patients with sebaceous cell carcinoma (20%) and 5 of 15 patients with eyelid or conjunctival melanoma (33%) had regional lymph node metastasis. Four patients with melanoma who had regional metastasis also developed distant organ metastasis. Two patients with sebaceous cell carcinoma--1 with regional metastasis and 1 without--developed distant organ metastasis.

CONCLUSIONS: The detection of histologically positive SLNs in this series of patients may justify further study of SLN biopsy for high-risk patients with ocular adnexal melanoma or eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma. The false-negative rate is higher than that reported for SLN biopsy at most other anatomic sites. Patients with negative findings from SLN biopsy still require careful long-term follow-up because they may develop regional or distant metastasis.

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