Indications and Importance of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Head and Neck Tumors

Authors: L. Mrzena 1;  I. Stárek 2;  K. Táborská 3;  D. Kodetová 4
Authors‘ workplace: Klinika ORL a chirurgie hlavy a krku 1. LF UK a FN Motol, Praha Katedra otorinolaryngologie IPVZ, Praha ;  přednosta prof. MUDr. J. Betka, DrSc. Otorinolaryngologická klinika LF UP a FN, Olomouc 1;  přednosta prof. MUDr. I. Stárek, CSc. Ústav patologie a molekulární medicíny 2. LF UK a FN Motol, Praha 2;  přednosta prof. MUDr. R. Kodet, CSc. Klinika nukleární medicíny a endokrinologie 2. LF UK a FN Motol, Praha 3;  přednosta doc. MUDr. P. Vlček, CSc. 4
Published in: Otorinolaryngol Foniatr, 58, 2009, No. 4, pp. 237-241.
Category: Original Article


Sentinel node biopsy is being increasingly used as a staging tool for detection of occult lymph node metastases in oncological surgery. Since its introduction for malignant melanoma and breast cancer, sentinel lymph node biopsy has also gained popularity in head and neck cancer, especially for early lesions of the oral cavity and the oropharynx.

Approximately 30% of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma have occult metastases in the neck. The only highly accurate means of identifying lymph node disease is to perform a staging elective neck dissection. The sentinel lymph node biopsy aims to avoid unnecessary neck dissections by identifying the patients with occult neck disease. Several clinical studies show that by means of this method it is possible to achieve more than 95% accuracy in detection of occult metastases in neck lymph nodes.

This article summarizes the results of clinical studies on sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with head and neck cancers. The role of the procedure in the treatment of head and neck cancer is discussed in the article.

Key words:
elective neck dissection, head and neck cancer, sentinel lymph node.


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Audiology Paediatric ENT ENT (Otorhinolaryngology)
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