Sentinel lymph node biopsy for high-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: Analysis of recurrence-free survival

Medicina (Kaunas). 2016;52(5):276-282. doi: 10.1016/j.medici.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Background and aim: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) is a malignant epithelial cell tumor. CSCC has a tendency to spread via lymphogenic pathway. Metastases are found in 2%-6% of cases. Prognosis of patients with CSCC is directly related to the morphology and localization of primary tumor. The aim of this study was to evaluate the recurrence-free survival of patients with CSCC after tumor excision and SLNB as well as to analyze morphologic CSCC features related to patient recurrence-free survival.

Materials and materials: A retrospective analysis of 51 patients with CSCC, who underwent surgical treatment between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2014, in the Clinic of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Hospital of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, was done. The diagnosis of CSCC was verified on a histological examination, and all patients had no clinical evidence of nodal or distant metastases on a physical examination or imaging studies. Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) was performed for low- and high-risk CSCC patients.

Results: A total of 51 patients were enrolled into the study (34 women and 17 men). Total of 68 lymph nodes were removed during sentinel lymph node biopsy. No micrometastases were identified. Until April 1, 2015, no relapse event was documented. The mean time after operation was 27.5 months. During the follow-up period, no distant metastases were identified.

Conclusions: No patient who had no micrometastases in sentinel lymph nodes developed local and distant CSCC metastases during the follow-up period. Our report supports the concept that SLNB can be applied for CSCC. It is obvious that larger prospective studies with longer follow-up period are needed to establish the efficacy of SLNB and define the optimal treatment of occult nodal metastasis for CSCC.

Keywords: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma; Recurrence-free survival; Relapse; Sentinel lymph node biopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Lymph Node / pathology*
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Ultrasonography