Tumour thickness as a predictor of occult lymph node metastases in patients with stage I and II melanoma undergoing sentinel lymph node biopsy
Article first published online: 29 NOV 2002
© 2002 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd
British Journal of Surgery
Volume 89, Issue 10, pages 1223–1227, October 2002
How to Cite
Lens, M. B., Dawes, M., Newton-Bishop, J. A. and Goodacre, T. (2002), Tumour thickness as a predictor of occult lymph node metastases in patients with stage I and II melanoma undergoing sentinel lymph node biopsy. Br J Surg, 89: 1223–1227. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2168.2002.02236.x
- Issue published online: 29 NOV 2002
- Article first published online: 29 NOV 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 JUN 2002
Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is a minimally invasive procedure used accurately to stage nodal basins at risk of occult metastases. There are no data as yet to show a survival benefit from SLNB and its use remains controversial. If Breslow thickness of the tumour correlates well with positive SLNB, it could be used to select patients for SLNB.
A quantitative systematic review of published studies on SLNB in patients with melanoma available by September 2001 was performed.
Twelve studies containing 4218 patients with stage I and II melanoma were identified; 17·8 (95 per cent confidence interval 16·7 to 19·0) per cent of patients had nodal micrometastases detected by SLNB. The incidence of micrometastasis in sentinel nodes correlated directly with Breslow tumour thickness; it was 1·0 per cent for lesions of less than or equal to 0·75 mm, 8·3 per cent for 0·76–1·50 mm, 22·7 per cent for 1·51–4·0 mm and 35·5 per cent for more than 4·0 mm.
The Breslow thickness of primary melanoma predicts the presence of a sentinel node metastasis. The published data are not sufficient to demonstrate a correlation between other known prognostic indicators and a positive SLNB. © 2002 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd