Sentinel node biopsy for lymph nodal staging of uterine cervix cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the pertinent literature

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2015 Jan;41(1):1-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2014.09.010. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


Background: We reviewed the available literature on the accuracy of sentinel node mapping in the lymph nodal staging of uterine cervical cancers.

Methods: MEDLINE and Scopus were searched by using "sentinel AND (cervix OR cervical)" as key words. Studies evaluating the accuracy of sentinel node mapping in the lymph nodal staging of uterine cervical cancers were included if enough data could be extracted for calculation of detection rate and/or sensitivity.

Results: Sixty-seven studies were included in the systematic review. Pooled detection rate was 89.2% [95% CI: 86.3-91.6]. Pooled sensitivity was 90% [95% CI: 88-92]. Sentinel node detection rate and sensitivity were related to mapping method (blue dye, radiotracer, or both) and history of pre-operative neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Sensitivity was higher in patients with bilaterally detected pelvic sentinel nodes compared to those with unilateral sentinel nodes. Lymphatic mapping could identify sentinel nodes outside the routine lymphadenectomy limits.

Conclusion: Sentinel node mapping is an accurate method for the assessment of lymph nodal involvement in uterine cervical cancers. Selection of a population with small tumor size and lower stage will ensure the lowest false negative rate. Lymphatic mapping can also detect sentinel nodes outside of routine lymphadenectomy areas providing additional histological information which can improve the staging. Further studies are needed to explore the impact of sentinel node mapping in fertility sparing surgery and in patients with history of neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; Evidence based; Lymphatic mapping; Meta-analysis; Sentinel node.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery