Sentinel node biopsy for squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and oropharynx: a diagnostic meta-analysis

Tim M Govers, Gerjon Hannink, Matthias A W Merkx, Robert P Takes, Maroeska M Rovers
Oral Oncology 2013, 49 (8): 726-32

BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to systematically assess the accuracy of a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in cT1/T2N0 oral cavity and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma patients.

METHODS: We searched electronic databases, including EMBASE and MEDLINE (Pubmed) up to November 7 2012, by combining oral cancer keywords with sentinel node biopsy keywords. We included diagnostic accuracy studies which used neck dissection as a reference test for the sentinel node biopsy. Study characteristics and measures of accuracy were extracted. Diagnostic accuracy was calculated from 2 × 2 tables.

RESULTS: 21 Studies (847 patients) could be included. Most of these patients had oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC). The pooled data showed an overall sensitivity of 0.93 [95% CI 0.90-0.95]. Subgroup analysis showed no significant differences in subgroups.

CONCLUSION: The high sensitivity of SLNB supports a role in the diagnostic work-up of OCSCC.

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