Background: The occurrence of in-transit metastases in patients with a tumour-positive sentinel node varies greatly between centres and it has been suggested that the incidence is high in this patient group.
Methods: The incidence of in-transit metastases in 61 patients who had lymph node dissection because of a tumour-positive sentinel node was compared with that in 60 patients who had palpable nodal metastases dissected.
Results: The incidence of in-transit metastases was 23 per cent in patients with a positive sentinel node and 8 per cent in those with palpable nodes (P = 0.027).
Conclusion: Sentinel node biopsy was associated with a higher risk of in-transit metastases. This finding does not support the routine use of sentinel node biopsy in the management of melanoma.
Copyright (c) 2004 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd