Sentinel lymph node biopsy for early squamous cell carcinoma of the lip and oral cavity: Real-world experience in Brazil

Head Neck. 2022 Jul;44(7):1604-1615. doi: 10.1002/hed.27061. Epub 2022 Apr 15.


Background: This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy and oncological results of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with early lip and oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in a real-world scenario.

Methods: Retrospective study including seven Brazilian centers.

Results: Four-hundred and seven cN0 patients were accrued for 20 years. The rate of occult metastasis was 23.1% and 22 patients (5.4%) had regional failure. We found, for 5 years of follow-up, 85.3% of regional recurrence-free survival; 77.1% of disease-free survival; 73.7% of overall survival; and 86.7% of disease-specific survival. The rate of false-negative cases was 5.4%.

Conclusion: In a real-world scenario, sentinel lymph node biopsy for patients with SCC of the lip and oral cavity proved feasible in different settings and to be oncologically safe, with similar rates of occult lymph node metastasis and false-negative cases, when compared to elective neck dissection, and with similar long-term survival to that reported historically.

Keywords: mouth neoplasms; neck dissection; prognosis; sentinel lymph node biopsy; squamous cell carcinoma; survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lip / pathology
  • Neck Dissection / methods
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / methods