Aimsand background: The presence of lymph node metastases in patients with cutaneous melanoma represents the basis for correct therapy planning and is the most powerful prognostic factor to evaluate overall survival at diagnosis. Methods and study design: Since 1992, when Dr Morton published his first experience, the sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy technique seems to have resolved this matter by correctly staging patients. We analyzed our data from 240 SLN biopsies performed in the last five years at the National Cancer Institute of Naples, evaluating the total identification rate and the nodal recurrence rate, and compared them with the preliminary data of the MSLT (melanoma sentinel lymph node trial). Results: Of all SLNs evaluated 18.5% were micrometastatic and 14% were identified by immunohistochemical staining. Forty-one patients had metastatic SLNs and nodal dissection of the positive basins revealed no other tumor-positive lymph nodes in more than 80% of them. All patients with a Breslow thickness of less than 2 mm had micrometastases only in the SLN, while with increasing thickness two, three or more positive nodes were found. Among SLN-negative patients nine (4%) developed lymph node recurrence in the previously treated basin and were therefore considered as false negative SLN biopsies. Conclusions: The prognostic value of SLN biopsy needs to be confirmed by the final results of the MSLT evaluating the therapeutic use of this procedure in patients with a Breslow thickness of less than 2 mm and its possible impact on the course of the disease.
|Publication status||Published - 2002|
- Cutaneous melanoma
- Sentinel node biopsy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research