Research Article| Volume 58, ISSUE 9, P1078-1083, November 2020

Sentinel lymph node biopsies in early stage oral and oropharyngeal carcinoma: a retrospective single-centre experience


      The aim of this retrospective study was to analyse a consecutive series of patients with oral and oropharyngeal carcinoma who had had sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) at our hospital during 2008-2017. A total of 70 patients with clinically and radiologically confirmed primary oral (n = 67) or oropharyngeal (n = 3) carcinoma, with no signs of metastatic lymph nodes preoperatively (clinically N0) were included. Patients’ clinical and personal data, characteristics of the tumours, sentinel lymph node (SLN) status and outcomes were recorded. Eight patients had invaded SLN. Two patients with clear sentinel lymph node biopsies had recurrences in the cervical lymph nodes with no new primary tumour as origin. The negative predictive value (NPV) and sensitivity for SLNB were 97% and 80%, respectively. The depth of invasion was an individual predictor for cervical lymph node metastasis (p = 0.043). Single photo emission computed tomography (SPECT) detected fewer SLN in patients with invaded lymph nodes than in patients with clear lymph nodes (p = 0.018).
      Our data support the use of SLNB as a minimally invasive method for staging the cervical lymph nodes among patients with cN0 oral and oropharyngeal carcinoma. Our results further confirm that greater depth of invasion is associated with cervical lymph node metastases.


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