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A Journal on Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Affiliated to the and to the International Research Group of Immunoscintigraphy
Indexed/Abstracted in: Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 2,413
Online ISSN 1827-1936
Maccauro M. 1, Villano C. 1, Aliberti G. 1, Ferrari L. 1, Castellani M. R. 1, Patuzzo R. 2, Tshering D. 3, Santinami M. 2, Bombardieri E. 1
1 Nuclear Medicine Division Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Milan, Italy
2 Division of Surgical Oncology Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Milan, Italy
3 Division of Pathology Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Milan, Italy
Aim. The aims of this paper were to evaluate the clinical relevance of lymphoscintigraphy with intraoperative gamma-probe detection in identifying sentinel nodes (SNs) and to study the prognostic value of SN biopsy in head and neck melanoma patients.
Methods. Sixty-one patients had lymphoscintigraphy with intradermal injections of 99mTc-Nanocoll® (40 MBq), 24 h before surgery. Tumor-positive SNs patients underwent total lymph node dissection Postoperative histological examination was performed. Patients were followed up for 1 to 5 years (median 3 years). The tumor relapses and the overall survival were evaluated by means of statistical methods.
Results. Lymphoscintigraphy showed lymphatic distribution to more than one basin in 45 patients (74%), in 15 patients one basin was visualized and no basin in 1 patient. In 41 patients the SN was negative for metastases, while in 20 was positive. In a high percentage of patients (30%), metastatic involvement occurred in more than one lymph node basin. During follow-up in the negative SN group, 40 patients remained disease free and 1 relapsed. In the positive SN group, 10 patients remained disease free and 10 relapsed. Recurrence time ranged from 6 to 11 months. The overall survival of the SNs negative group was significantly higher than the positive SN group.
Conclusion. This approach was able to distinguish: a) patients with tumor-negative SNs with a favorable clinical course (98% did not relapse, P<0.001); b) patients with tumor-positive SNs with a high rate of tumor relapse (50%, P<0.001). Therefore SN biopsy may give information about prognosis in head and neck melanoma patients.