Lymphatic mapping and sentinel node biopsy: is the method applicable to patients with colorectal and gastric cancer?

Eur J Surg. 2000 Oct;166(10):755-8. doi: 10.1080/110241500447362.


The current status of lymphatic mapping and sentinel node biopsy in the treatment of patients with malignant melanoma and breast cancer is described. The possible use of a similar method in patients with colorectal and gastric cancer is outlined. Peroperative lymphatic mapping and identification of sentinel node(s) in patients with gastrointestinal cancer may lead to modified (tailored) resections and extended lymph node dissections only in those patients in whom the sentinel node(s) contains tumour cells. The method offers the possibility of improving staging by identification of patients with early disseminated disease who should be considered for adjuvant treatment or be included in trials of adjuvant treatment to speed up the breakthrough of more effective adjuvant regimens. Large studies are needed to find out if the sentinel node concept is as valid in gastrointestinal cancer as studies so far have shown that it is for malignant melanoma and breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Coloring Agents
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnosis*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radioactive Tracers
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Coloring Agents
  • Radioactive Tracers