Role of perioperative dynamic sentinel node biopsy for cN0 penile cancer management: experience from an Italian tertiary referral center

Tumori. Jan-Feb 2018;104(1):66-70. doi: 10.5301/tj.5000700.


Purpose: Inguinal lymphadenectomy (iLAD) reduces mortality in patients with cN0 penile cancer but yields high complication rates. Thus, its prophylactic role has been questioned and dynamic sentinel node biopsy (DSNB) was introduced to select men who should undergo the procedure. Our aim was to investigate the accuracy of a contemporary DSNB cohort.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of ≥T1 or ≥G2 cN0 penile cancer undergoing perioperative DSNB from June 2009 to June 2015 at a tertiary referral center. We excluded men with <18 months follow-up or with local recurrence after primary curative treatment. Complications were graded according to the Clavien-Dindo classification.

Results: Thirty-five men underwent DSNB; 85.71% had ≤T2 penile cancer with ≤G2a histology. Per groin detection rate was 80% (scintigraphy being positive bilaterally in 60% and unilaterally in 20.0%). In no cases did DSNB prolong the postoperative course compared to primary surgery. Nine men (n = 15/109 nodes removed) had positive results, 8 of whom underwent iLAD. Among negative DSNB patients, 2 developed nodal penile cancer recurrence; none of them had node biopsy due to inconclusive scintigraphy. At a median follow-up of 42 months (interquartile range 30-78 months), if considering only men with scintigraphy detected inguinal nodes, per-patient sensitivity and specificity were 50% and 80% whereas positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 25% and 92.3%, respectively.

Conclusions: Perioperative DSNB is a safe procedure, yielding promising results when performed at a tertiary referral center. Future prospective large studies are needed to investigate how to optimize detection rate and reduce false-negative rates.

Keywords: Detection rate; Dynamic sentinel node biopsy; False-negative; Inguinal lymphadenectomy; Multidisciplinary approach; Penile cancer; Scintigraphy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Lymph Node Excision / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Penile Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Penile Neoplasms / pathology
  • Penile Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Penis / pathology
  • Penis / surgery*
  • Perioperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / methods*
  • Tertiary Care Centers*