Current Otorhinolaryngology Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 318–329 | Cite as

Management of the Neck for Non-melanoma Skin Cancer

  • Mirko Manojlovic-Kolarski
  • Christopher M. K. L. Yao
  • Douglas B. ChepehaEmail author
HEAD & NECK: Non-melanoma Skin Cancer of the Head and Neck (J Moyer, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on HEAD & NECK: Non-melanoma Skin Cancer of the Head and Neck


Purpose of Review

To summarize the current management of the neck lymph node basin for head and neck non-melanoma skin cancers.

Recent Findings

Over the last 5 years, there have been updates to staging for cSCC and MCC. T classification of the AJCC staging system has been changed to match the UICC staging system. MCC staging has been updated based on data from the National Cancer Data Base. Sentinel lymph node biopsy, while established in MCC, is playing a growing role in the management of high-risk N0 cSCC.


The optimal management of N0 neck varies by metastatic potential. In low-risk malignancy, no workup is necessary. In cSCC, risk stratification is necessary. High-risk tumors with N0 necks should undergo preoperative imaging with CT and targeted FNA of suspicious lymph nodes. If radiologically negative, a SLNB should be considered. Selective neck dissection should be performed for N+ disease and positive SLNB. Elective neck dissection is not routinely recommended and should be reserved for positive parotid nodal disease. Merkel cell carcinoma has high rates of nodal metastases and requires preoperative imaging with targeted FNA of suspected metastases. SLNB should be performed for N0 disease to guide prognostication and further treatment. Management of negative SLN is controversial, and most can be observed while radiation may be considered for high-risk patients. Positive SLN requires completion neck dissection and radiation.


Non-melanoma skin cancer Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma Merkel cell carcinoma Neck metastasis Sentinel lymph node biopsy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirko Manojlovic-Kolarski
    • 1
  • Christopher M. K. L. Yao
    • 1
  • Douglas B. Chepeha
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of TorontoUniversity Health Network, Department of Otolaryngology -Head and Neck SurgeryTorontoCanada

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