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CURRENT ISSUETHE QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE AND MOLECULAR IMAGING

A Journal on Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging


A Journal on Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Affiliated to the Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences and to the International Research Group of Immunoscintigraphy
Indexed/Abstracted in: Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index (SciSearch), Scopus
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The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2014 June;58(2):105-13

PERSPECTIVES IN RADIOGUIDED SURGERY AND SENTINEL LYMPH NODE BIOPSY TWENTY YEARS LATER 

 REVIEWS

A critical reappraisal of false negative sentinel lymph node biopsy in melanoma

Manca G. 1, Romanini A. 2, Rubello D. 3, Mazzarri S. 1, Boni G. 1, Chiacchio S. 1, Tredici M. 1, Duce V. 1, Tardelli E. 1, Volterrani D. 1, Mariani G. 1

1 Regional Center of Nuclear Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy;
2 Division of Medical Oncology, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa, Italy;
3 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital, Rovigo, Italy

Lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) have completely changed the clinical management of cutaneous melanoma. This procedure has been accepted worldwide as a recognized method for nodal staging. SLNB is able to accurately determine nodal basin status, providing the most useful prognostic information. However, SLNB is not a perfect diagnostic test. Several large-scale studies have reported a relatively high false-negative rate (5.6-21%), correctly defined as the proportion of false-negative results with respect to the total number of “actual” positive lymph nodes. The main purpose of this review is to address the technical issues that nuclear physicians, surgeons, and pathologists should carefully consider to improve the accuracy of SLNB by minimizing its false-negative rate. In particular, SPECT/CT imaging has demonstrated to be able to identify a greater number of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) than those found by planar lymphoscintigraphy. Furthermore, a unique definition in the international guidelines is missing for the operational identification of SLNs, which may be partly responsible for this relatively high false-negative rate of SLNB. Therefore, it is recommended for the scientific community to agree on the radioactive counting rate threshold so that the surgeon can be better radioguided to detect all the lymph nodes which are most likely to harbor metastases. Another possible source of error may be linked to the examination of the harvested SLNs by conventional histopathological methods. A more careful and extensive SLN analysis (e.g. molecular analysis by RT-PCR) is able to find more positive nodes, so that the false-negative rate is reduced. Older age at diagnosis, deeper lesions, histologic ulceration, head-neck anatomical location of primary lesions are the clinical factors associated with false-negative SLNBs in melanoma patients. There is still much controversy about the clinical significance of a false-negative SLNB on the prognosis of melanoma patients. Indeed, most studies have failed to show that there is worse melanoma-specific survival for false-negative compared to true-positive SLNB patients.

language: English


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