Sentinel node biopsy in relation to survival in floor of the mouth carcinoma

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2014 Mar;43(3):269-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2013.10.022. Epub 2013 Dec 2.


Promising results have been obtained with sentinel node biopsy (SNB) in early oral carcinoma, but the floor of the mouth remains a site at risk of misdiagnosis. A retrospective and prospective study was designed to test the safety of SNB by comparing survival among patients with early stage carcinoma of the floor of the mouth (FOM) undergoing SNB, to a control group managed traditionally by a combination of clinical observation and elective neck dissection (END). A total of 63 patients with early stage carcinoma of the FOM were treated between 1991 and 2005. In the control group, 26 patients were managed with END and nine by close observation. In the test group, 28 patients were managed prospectively with SNB. Regional recurrence occurred in 23% (8/35) of control patients and 25% (7/28) of test patients. Approximately 25% of patients were successfully treated by salvage surgery. Disease-specific survival was 65.5% for control patients and 85% for SNB patients; the difference was not statistically significant. The use of SNB in the management of cancers of the FOM did not adversely affect survival and prevented 69.5% of patients undergoing unnecessary neck dissections, while clinical progress was better in the SNB group than in controls.

Keywords: N0 neck; floor of the mouth; head and neck neoplasms; sentinel node biopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Floor / pathology*
  • Mouth Floor / surgery*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Neck Dissection
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salvage Therapy
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy*
  • Survival Rate