Purpose: To assess the incidence of nonmajor lymphatic basin sentinel nodes in patients with cutaneous melanoma in order to propose a correct nomenclature and inform appropriate surgical management. Methods: This was a retrospective review of 1,045 consecutive patients with cutaneous melanoma who underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy and dynamic lymphoscintigraphy to identify sentinel node site. Nonmajor drainage sites were classified as uncommon (located in a minor lymphatic basin along the lymphatic drainage to a major classical nodal basin) or interval (located anywhere along the lymphatics between the primary tumor site and the nearest lymphatic basin) sentinel nodes. Results: Nonclassical sentinel nodes were identified in 32 patients (3.0 %). Uncommon sentinel nodes were identified in 3.2 % (n = 17) of trunk melanoma primary disease and in 1.5 % (n = 7) of upper and lower extremity sites. Interval sentinel nodes were identified in 1.3 % (n = 7) of trunk primary lesions, with none from upper and lower extremities melanomas. The incidence of tumor-positive sentinel nodes was 24.1 % (245 of 1,013) in classical sites and 12.5 % (4 of 32) in uncommon/interval sites. Conclusions: The definition of uncommon and interval sentinel nodes allows the identification of different lymphatic pathways and inform appropriate surgical treatment. Wider experience with uncommon/interval sentinel nodes will better clarify the clinical implications and surgical management to be adopted in the management of uncommon and interval sentinel node sites.
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