Objective: Intraoperative detection of ovarian sentinel nodes has been shown to be feasible. We examined the detection rate and locations of sentinel nodes in patients with ovarian tumors. We also aimed to assess the reliability of sentinel node method in predicting regional lymph node metastasis.
Methods: Twenty patients scheduled for laparotomy because of a pelvic mass were recruited to the study. In the beginning of the laparotomy, radioisotope and blue dye were injected under the serosa next to the junction of the ovarian tumor and suspensory ligament. The number and locations of the hot and/or blue nodes/spots were recorded during the operation. If the tumor was malignant according to the frozen section, systematic lymphadenectomies were performed, the sentinel nodes sampled separately, and their status compared with other regional lymph nodes.
Results: Eleven patients had a right-sided ovarian tumor, 7 patients a left-sided tumor, and 2 patients had bilateral tumors. A median of 2 sentinel nodes/locations per patient (range, 1-3) were found. Sixty percent of all sentinel nodes were located in the para-aortic region only, compared with 30% in both para-aortic and pelvic areas and 10% in pelvic area only. Both unilateral and bilateral locations were found. In 83% of the cases with more than 1 sentinel node location, they were located in separate anatomical regions. In 3 patients, systematic lymphadenectomies were performed. One of them had nodal metastases in 2 regions and also a metastasis in 1 of her 2 sentinel nodes in 1 of those regions.
Conclusions: In patients with ovarian tumor(s), the detection of sentinel nodes is feasible. They are located in different anatomic areas both ipsilaterally and contralaterally, although most of them are found in the para-aortic region. The reliability of the sentinel node concept should be evaluated in the framework of a multicenter trial.