The sentinel node in cervical cancer: scintigraphy and laparoscopic gamma probe-guided biopsy.
Lingen, A. van
Diest, P.J. van
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The sentinel node (SN) procedure has been proven to be a valuable technique in the staging and treatment of a number of solid tumours. We evaluated the feasibility of SN biopsy with a laparoscopic gamma probe and dye guidance in 34 patients with clinically localised cervical cancer. After peritumoural injection of 140 MBq( 99m)Tc colloidal albumin, dynamic and late static images were obtained. Just before the laparoscopic procedure, blue dye was injected. Blue and radioactive lymph nodes were excised followed by a regular lymphadenectomy. Lymphoscintigraphy revealed 70 SNs in 50 basins during dynamic imaging and 83 SNs in 63 basins at late imaging. SNs were visualised in 97% of the patients, bilaterally in 30 and unilaterally in three. Seventy-four of the 105 radioactive lymph nodes that were excised laparoscopically were considered to be SNs, 53 being blue as well, and were sent for frozen section. Nine foci that had been seen on scintigraphy could not be found either intraoperatively or in the remaining lymphadenectomy specimen. Four blue nodes were excised in three of five basins that had shown no foci during scintigraphy. In 17 basins of 12 patients, tumour-positive lymph nodes were found. In one of them a micrometastasis was found in the hysterectomy specimen while the lymphadenectomy did not contain any metastases (sensitivity 92%). Based on SN histology, the treatment was altered in nine patients (26%). We conclude that laparoscopic SN biopsy is feasible in cervical cancer and may result in custom-designed treatment strategies with a reduction in morbidity.