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Reducing the number of sentinel nodes removed in melanoma patients: A prospective study

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Author(s): Danino A | Kadlub N | Dalac S | Boichot C | Malka G

Journal: Indian Journal of Cancer
ISSN 0019-509X

Volume: 43;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 132;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: Melanoma | nodal metastases | sentinel node

ABSTRACT
CONTEXT: Since 1992, sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy was generally applied to melanoma for tumor staging. As the literature points out, an increasing number of nodes are being removed for each procedure, driving up the cost for this procedure and wandering away from the defining concept of sentinel lymph node. AIMS: The objective of the current study was to show that the number of sentinel lymph node s removed can be minimized without influencing the reliability of tumor staging. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a single-arm prospective study in patients with stage I melanoma. For each patient, the sentinel lymph node was identified using the hand-held gamma probe technique. We removed only the hottest nodes as well as the nodes with radioactivity greater than 70% compared to the hottest. We analyzed the characteristics of each melanoma, the success rate of this procedure, how many nodes were removed and how many had micro metastases. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: The results were compared to those of the literature, previously published Porter study using the chi-square test. RESULTS: We included 90 patients. The success rate of this technique was 100%. We dissected 1.3 sentinel lymph nodes for each patient, with 22% positive SLN. Statistical analyses point out a better selectivity of our study for a similar rate of pathological positivity and recurrence compared to the literature. CONCLUSIONS: Our technique for decreasing the number of sentinel lymph nodes removed is reliable. The removal of minimal number of nodes doesn′t compromise the sensitivity of tumor staging, while it does reduce the cost of the procedure.
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