Sentinel node biopsy in oral cavity cancer: Correlation with pet scan and immunohistochemistry

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124 Scopus citations


Background. Lymphoscintigraphy and sentinel node biopsy (LS/SNB) is a minimally invasive technique that samples first-echelon lymph nodes to predict the need for more extensive neck dissection. Methods. We evaluated this technique in 18 oral cavity cancers, stages T1-T3, NO. Patients underwent CT and positron emission tomography (PET) of the neck, followed by LS/SNB, frozen section, immediate selective neck dissection, definitive histology, and immunoperoxidase staining for cytokeratin. Histopathology of the sentinel node was correlated with that of the neck specimen. Results. There were 10 true positives: 6 identified on frozen section; 2 on permanent histology; and 2 only on immunoperoxidase staining. In six, the sentinel node was the only positive node. There were seven true negatives and one false negative. Conclusions. Gross tumor replacement of lymph node architecture may obstruct and redirect lymphatic flow. Overall LS/SNB holds promise for oral cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Cytokeratin
  • Lymphoscintigraphy
  • Oral cancer
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Sentinel node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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