Objective: The objective was to describe sentinel ode detection in patients with primary and recurrent vaginal carcinoma.
Method: Preoperatively 60-mBq technetium-labeled nannocolloid was injected in the mucosa at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock, just adjacent to the vaginal cancer. Sentinel nodes were detected using a laparoscopic or hand-held probe (Navigator) and removed for pathological assessment.
Results: Sentinel nodes could be found in two of three patients with primary stage I or II carcinoma of the vagina. In the first patient the sentinel nodes, located in the groin and obturator region, proved to be negative and she was treated with a wide local excision of the tumor, pelvic and groin lymphadenectomy, and adjuvant radiotherapy. The second patient had tumor metastases in the sentinel node, which was found just below of the junction of the iliac vessels, and she underwent combined chemo- and radiotherapy. In a third patient no sentinel node could be detected at lymphoscintigraphy. A last patient with stage III carcinoma of the upper vagina was initially treated by combined chemo-radiotherapy but recurred 6 months later. During a staging procedure the sentinel nodes could be detected in the right obturator fossa and were removed laparoscopically. As they were negative, she underwent a posterior pelvic exenteration with complete resection of the tumor.
Conclusion: Laparoscopic detection of sentinel nodes using 99mTc-labeled colloid is feasible in patients with primary and recurrent vaginal cancer and may provide important information to direct further management.