Diagnostic value of sentinel lymph node biopsy for cT1/T2N0 tongue squamous cell carcinoma: a meta-analysis

Yue Yang, Jian Zhou, Haitao Wu
European Archives of Oto-rhino-laryngology 2017, 274 (11): 3843-3852
The aim of this study was to systematically evaluate the diagnostic value of the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) for cT1/T2N0 tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) patients. A comprehensive and systematic literature review was performed by searching the Embase and PubMed databases for English language articles published up to December 2016. The pooled overall sentinel lymph node (SLN) detection rate, sensitivity and negative predictive value (NPV) were used to evaluate the diagnostic value of SLNB which used neck dissection or follow-up as a reference test. The Q test and I 2 statistic were used to assess the heterogeneity across the studies. Subgroup analyses were performed in consideration of higher contribution of different clinical characteristics on the SLNB diagnostic value. Begg's linear regression and Egger's regression tests were conducted to evaluate the publication bias. Thirty-five studies (with 1084 patients) were included. The pooled SLN detection rate was 98% (95% CI 97-100%). The pooled overall sensitivity and NPV of SLNB were 0.92 (95% CI 0.88-0.95) and 0.96 (95% CI 0.94-0.97), respectively. The subgroup analyses demonstrated that higher extracted number of patients (n ≥ 30) from the included studies achieved a more stable NPV than lower number of patients. SLNB can effectively predict the status of regional lymph nodes in cT1/T2N0 TSCC patients. With high sensitivity and NPV, SLNB can guide the treatment of SLNB-positive patients with neck dissections and those with negative SLNBs with follow-ups in order to avoid unnecessary surgical morbidity.

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