Sentinel node localization in primary melanoma: Learning curve and results

A. Testori, M. Bartolomei, C. Grana, M. Mezzetti, M. Chinol, G. Mazzarol, I. Lazzari, G. Paganelli, J. G. Geraghty, B. Andreoni, U. Veronesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ninety primary melanoma patients were studied to investigate the importance of adopting the simultaneous use of patent blue dye (PBD) and lymphoscintigraphy plus gamma detection probe to locate the sentinel node (SN). In total 135 SNs in 105 basins were visualized preoperatively under a gamma camera after lymphoscintigraphy. When a SN was identified intraoperatively, its radioactivity level and colour were verified and documented. Two of the SNs seen on lymphoscintigraphy were not found. Using PBD 78.52% of the SNs were identified; 95.5% were identified using the gamma detection probe. Using both methods together 98.5% of the SNs were defected. Twenty-two patients (24.4%) had pathologically positive SNs. The surgical learning curve was assessed for the two techniques. The learning curve associated with the methodology was important in finding the SN when using PBD associated with lymphoscintigraphy, but not when the gamma detection probe was used; we found a statistically significant reduction in the percentage of stained SNs found using PBD in the initial 14 SNs biopsied compared with the subsequent 121 nodes. This is important as not all institutions have access to a gamma probe. The time required to identify each SN was documented and analysed. The duration of the procedure was significantly shorter for stained SNs than for non-stained SNs, which support the use of both PBD and the gamma probe. In conclusion, SN biopsy should be performed by surgeons and nuclear medicine doctors in co-operation, both methods being adopted simultaneously to reduce the percentage of procedure failures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-593
Number of pages7
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Gamma detection probe
  • Melanoma
  • Patent blue dye
  • Sentinel node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sentinel node localization in primary melanoma: Learning curve and results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this