Sentinel lymph node biopsy was attempted in 336 patients with clinically node-negative cutaneous melanoma. All patients were injected with technetium-99m labelled radiocolloid, with 108 patients simultaneously receiving vital blue dye for sentinel node identification. Sentinel lymph nodes were identified in 329 patients, giving a technical success rate of 97.9%. Metastatic disease was identified in 39 (11.9%) of the patients in whom sentinel nodes were found. Patients with negative sentinel nodes were observed and patients with positive sentinel nodes underwent comprehensive lymph node dissection. The presence of metastatic disease in the sentinel nodes and primary tumour depth by Breslow or Clark levels were joint predictors of survival based on Cox proportional hazards modelling. Disease recurrences occurred in 26 (8.8%) patients with negative sentinel lymph nodes, with isolated regional recurrences as the first site in 10 (3.4%). No patients with Clark level II primary tumours were found to have positive sentinel nodes or disease recurrences. One patient with a thin (<0.75mm) Clark level III primary had metastatic disease in a sentinel node. Patients with metastases confined to the sentinel nodes had similar survival rates regardless of the number of nodes involved.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research