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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Oct;145(4):606-11. doi: 10.1177/0194599811411878. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

False-negative sentinel lymph node biopsy in head and neck melanoma.

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1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The results of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) can be useful for staging and deciding on adjuvant treatment for patients with head and neck melanoma. False-negative SLNB can result in treatment delay. This study aimed to evaluate the characteristics and outcome of patients with false-negative SLNB in cutaneous melanoma of the head and neck.

STUDY DESIGN:

Longitudinal cohort study using a prospective institutional tumor registry.

SETTING:

Academic health center.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Data from 153 patients who underwent SLNB for melanoma of the head and neck were analyzed. False-negative biopsy was defined as recurrence of tumor in a previously identified negative nodal basin. Statistical analysis was performed on registry data.

RESULTS:

Positive sentinel lymph nodes were identified in 19 (12.4%) patients. False-negative SLNB was noted in 9 (5.9%) patients, with a false-negative SLNB rate of 32.1%. Using multivariate regression analysis, only examination of a single sentinel lymph node was a significant predictor of false-negative SLNB (P = .01). The mean treatment delay for the false-negative SLNB group was 470 days compared with 23 days in the positive SLNB group (P < .001). The 2-year overall survival of patients with false-negative SLNB was 75% compared with 84% and 98% in positive and negative SLNB groups, respectively (P = .02).

CONCLUSIONS:

False-negative SLNB is more likely to occur when a single sentinel lymph node is harvested. There is significant treatment delay in patients with false-negative SLNB. False-negative SLNB is associated with poor outcome in patients with melanoma of the head and neck.

PMID:
21659495
DOI:
10.1177/0194599811411878
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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