Sentinel lymph node biopsy in cutaneous head and neck melanoma
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Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is now a standard of care for cutaneous melanoma, but it is still controversial for cutaneous head and neck melanoma (CHNM). This study aims to confirm the feasibility, accuracy and low morbidity of SLNB in CHNM and evaluate its prognostic value.
A monocentric and retrospective study on patients with CHNM treated in our tertiary care center (Gustave Roussy) between January 2008 and December 2012 was performed. The feasibility, morbidity and prognostic value of this technique were analysed.
One hundred and twenty-four consecutive patients were included. SLNB was realized in 97.6% of the cases. No significant post-operative morbidity was observed. Nineteen percents of patients had a positive SN while only 14.3% of complete lymph node dissections (CLND) had additional nodal metastasis. The risk of recurrence after positive SN was significantly higher (69.2 vs 30.8%, p = 0.043). The false omission rate was low with 7.1%. Overall survival and disease-free survival were better in the negative SN group (82 vs 49%, p < 0.001 and 69.3 vs 41.8%, p = 0.0131). The risk of recurrence was significantly higher in the positive SN group (p = 0.043) and when primary tumour was ulcerated (p = 0.031). Only the mitotic rate of the primary tumour was associated with SN positivity (p = 0.049).
As in other sites, SLNB status is a strong prognostic factor with comparable false omission rate and no superior morbidity.
KeywordsCutaneous melanoma Sentinel node biopsy Head and neck Micrometastasis
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committees and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies performed on animals by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.
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