Does the number of sentinel lymph nodes removed affect the false negative rate for head and neck melanoma?
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Head and neck (HN) cutaneous melanoma is associated with worse disease-free survival compared to non-HN cutaneous melanoma, possibly due to inadequate staging. We aim to determine if a higher yield of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) affected rates of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) positivity. METHODS: Two Cancer Registries were used to identify patients who underwent SLNB for HN melanoma. A false negative (FN) was defined by nodal recurrence after negative SLNB. RESULTS: Out of 333 patients who underwent SLNB, 20% (n = 69) had a positive SLN with a FN rate of 6.3%. Those with three or more SLNs had a higher rate of SLN positivity (23.8% [17.5-29.9% CI] vs 16.4% [10.7-23.6% CI]), a lower FN rate (16.7% [10.2-21.2% CI] vs 35.3% [27.1-42.9% CI]), and higher sensitivity (83.3% [82.59-84.09% CI] vs 65.7% [64.87-66.53% CI]) compared to those with one or two SLNs. Of patients in Group 1 (one or two SLNs) with a positive SLN who underwent completion lymph node dissection (20/23), 47% (33-61% CI) had one or more positive non-sentinel nodes compared to 29% (16-51%) of patients in Group 2 (three or more SLNs) (42/46). CONCLUSION: In HN melanoma cases in which multiple nodes are identified, removal of all SLNs will more adequately stage patients.
Puza, CJ; Josyula, S; Terando, AM; Howard, JH; Agnese, DM; Mosca, PJ; Lee, WT; Beasley, GM
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)