The value of frozen section analysis of the sentinel lymph node in clinically N0 squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and oropharynx.Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Jan; 132(1):99-102.OH
To determine the feasibility and accuracy of fine-sectioned frozen-section analysis of the sentinel lymph node (SLN) in cN0 oral cavity and oropharynx squamous cell carcinoma.
Thirty-one patients were included and underwent lymphoscintigraphy a day before surgery and marking of the SLN. Intraoperatively, the SLNs were identified using a gamma probe, excised, and analyzed using fine-sectioned frozen section. The remaining SLN tissue was fixed in formalin for further staining and immunohistochemical analysis. An elective neck dissection was performed in all patients and all excised lymph nodes were examined for metastatic disease.
SLNs were identified preoperatively by lymphoscintigraphy as well as by gamma probe intraoperatively in all patients. A total of 82 sentinel lymph nodes were excised and analyzed by fine-sectioned frozen section. Micrometastases were found in 16 out of the 82 SLNs, upstaging 14 out of 31 patients (45%) from cN0 to pN+. Furthermore, a total of 1295 lymph nodes from the neck dissection specimens were analyzed, confirming only one more metastatic disease. Sensitivity and negative predictive value of SLN biopsy were 93% and 94% respectively for frozen section analysis.
Our study shows that SLN biopsy in cN0 neck of patients with oral cavity and oropharyngeal carcinoma is both feasible and accurate. Provided that larger studies confirm our results, an elective neck dissection may become unnecessary if fine-sectioned frozen-section analysis of the SLN shows no nodal metastases in patients with cN0 oral cavity and oropharynx carcinoma.