Mapping of pelvic lymph node metastases in prostate cancer

Eur Urol. 2013 Mar;63(3):450-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2012.06.057. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


Background: Opinions about the optimal lymph node dissection (LND) template in prostate cancer differ. Drainage and dissemination patterns are not necessarily identical.

Objective: To present a precise overview of the lymphatic drainage pattern and to correlate those findings with dissemination patterns. We also investigated the relationship between the number of positive lymph nodes (LN+) and resected lymph nodes (LNs) per region.

Design, setting, and participants: Seventy-four patients with localized prostate adenocarcinoma were prospectively enrolled. Patients did not show suspect LNs on computed tomography scan and had an LN involvement risk of ≥ 10% but ≤ 35% (Partin tables) or a cT3 tumor.

Intervention: After intraprostatic technetium-99m nanocolloid injection, patients underwent planar scintigraphy and single-photon emission computed tomography imaging. Then surgery was performed, starting with a sentinel node (SN) procedure and a superextended lymphadenectomy followed by radical prostatectomy.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Distribution of scintigraphically detected SNs and removed SNs per region were registered. The number of LN+, as well as the percentage LN+ of the total number of removed LNs per region, was demonstrated in combining data of all patients. The impact of the extent of LND on N-staging and on the number of LN+ removed was calculated.

Results and limitations: A total of 470 SNs were scintigraphically detected (median: 6; interquartile range [IQR]: 3-9), of which 371 SNs were removed (median: 4; IQR: 2.25-6). In total, 91 LN+ (median: 2; IQR: 1-3) were found in 34 of 74 patients. The predominant site for LN+ was the internal iliac region. An extended LND (eLND) would have correctly staged 32 of 34 patients but would have adequately removed all LN+ in only 26 of 34 patients. When adding the presacral region, these numbers increased to 33 of 34 and 30 of 34 patients, respectively.

Conclusions: Standard eLND would have correctly staged the majority of LN+ patients, but 13% of the LN+ would have been missed. Adding the presacral LNs to the template should be considered to obtain a minimal template with maximal gain. NOTE: This manuscript was invited based on the 2011 European Association of Urology meeting in Vienna.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Lymphatic System / pathology*
  • Lymphatic System / surgery
  • Lymphoscintigraphy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pelvis / pathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods