[Sentinel lymph node biopsy in early-stage cervical cancer: current state of art]

Bull Cancer. 2020 Jun;107(6):696-706. doi: 10.1016/j.bulcan.2019.06.011. Epub 2019 Oct 15.
[Article in French]


Lymph node status is the most important prognostic factor of survival in women with early stage cervical cancer. Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is an accurate method for the assessment of lymph nodal involvement in early-stages cervical cancer and has been increasingly used instead of systematic pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND). Less-radical lymph node dissection decreases the associated morbidity of PLND, especially the risk of lower-leg lymphoedema, which affects severely patient quality of life. SLN biopsy allows nodes ultrastaging and provides supplementary histological information by increasing the detection of tumor low-volume (isolated tumors cells and micrometastases). Moreover, SLN biopsy provides accurate anatomical information on pelvic lymphatic drainage pathway by identifying nodes outside of routine lymphadenectomy areas. Selection of a population at low-risk of nodal metastasis, a minimal training, and simple rules may ensure a low false negative rate. Several studies have shown that SLN mapping in these patients is feasible, with excellent detection rates and sensitivity. Combined detection with technetium-99 and blue dye has been widely used but recently, there has been increasing interest in the use of fluorescent dies such as indocyanine green (ICG) which would improve SLN detection. Although recent international guidelines recommend performing SLN biopsy in addition to PLND, SLN biopsy alone is not the gold-standard yet due to lack of prospective evidence, especially on long-term oncological safety. Some points remain controversial such as the low accuracy of intraoperative SLN status assessment by frozen section and the impact of micrometastasis on prognostic. The prospective randomized clinical trial SENTICOL III will answer to these problematics.

Keywords: Cancer du col; Cervical cancer; Drainage lymphatique; Ganglion sentinelle; Lymphatic mapping; SENTICOL; Sentinel Lymph Node; Ultrastadification; Ultrastaging; micrometastasis; micrométastases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy* / methods
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery