Sentinel lymph node biopsy for T1/T2 oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma-A prospective case series

Thomas Pezier*, Iain J. Nixon, Ben Gurney, Clare Schilling, Karim Hussain, Andrew J. Lyons, Richard Oakley, Ricard Simo, Jean Pierre Jeannon, Mark McGurk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is an established technique in breast and melanoma surgery and is gaining acceptance in the management of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. We report a single institution's experience of SLNB between 2006 and 2010. Methods. Prospective consecutive cohort study of 59 patients recruited between 2006 and 2010. All patients underwent SLNB with preoperative lymphoscintigraphy, intraoperative blue dye, and handheld gamma probe. Sentinel nodes were evaluated with step-serial sectioning and immunohistochemistry. Endpoints included: overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS), local recurrence-free survival (LRFS), and regional recurrencefree survival (RRFS). Results. A total of 59 patients (36 male and 23 female) were operated on. Of these, 42 patients (71%) were pT1 and 17 patients (29%) were pT2. In two patients the sentinel node was not identified and proceeded to elective neck dissection. A total of 150 nodes were harvested from the remaining 57 patients of which 21 nodes were positive in 17 patients; three patients had positive contralateral nodes. The 2-year OS, DSS, LRFS, and RRFS for the SLNB negative patients were 97.5, 100, 95.8, and 95.8% and for the SLNB positive patients 68.2, 81.8, 83.9, and 100% respectively. Only OS and DSS approached statistical significance with P values of 0.07 and 0.06. Conclusions. SLNB is a safe and accurate diagnostic technique for staging the neck with a negative predictive value in our series of 97.5%. Furthermore, in our series three patients (5%) had positive contralateral neck drainage that would have been missed by conventional ipsilateral neck dissection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3528-3533
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


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