Sentinel lymph node biopsy versus elective neck dissection in patients with cT1-2N0 oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2014 Feb;117(2):186-90. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2013.09.012. Epub 2013 Dec 11.


Objective: This study aimed to compare the value of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) with that of elective neck dissection (END) for the prediction of cervical lymph node metastasis in patients with clinically diagnosed T1-2N0 (cT1-2N0) oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC), and it aimed to examine the prognostic value of individualized treatment in sentinel lymph node (SLN)-negative patients.

Study design: The study entailed a retrospective review of 82 patients with cT1-2N0 OTSCC. Thirty patients underwent SLNB, and 52 patients underwent END.

Results: There was a significant difference between the SLNB and END groups in the incidence of occult cervical lymph node metastasis in initial specimens (30% vs 11.5%; P = .037). However, there were no significant differences between the groups for 10-year overall and cervical recurrence-free survival rates and 10-year overall survival rate.

Conclusions: SLNB is superior to END for the prediction of cervical lymph node metastasis in patients with cT1-2N0 OTSCC. Neck dissection may be reduced for SLN-negative patients, owing to the comparable prognosis of SLNB.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection*
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy*
  • Survival Rate
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / surgery*