New fields of application of the sentinel lymph node biopsy in the pathologic staging of solid neoplasms: review of literature and surgical perspectives

J Surg Oncol. 2004 Mar;85(3):171-9. doi: 10.1002/jso.20031.


Sentinel lymph node (sN) biopsy has gained special attention among surgical and medical oncologists as it represents an accepted technique for detecting occult nodal disease in regional lymph nodes of patients with melanoma and breast cancer. The histopathologic examination of the sN may well predict regional lymph node status in order to define the most suitable loco-regional and systemic treatment. Recently, this technique has also been applied to other solid tumor types such as gynecologic and urologic malignancies, squamous head and neck cancer, thyroid cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma, and gastric cancer. The aim of this literature review is to define the rationale of sN biopsy in these tumor sites, the most effective procedure for sN detection, and the accuracy of the sN in predicting regional nodal status, as well as the surgical perspectives of sN biopsy application.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / pathology*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / surgery
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / pathology*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / surgery
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / surgery
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery