Reliability of the sentinel node procedure in melanoma patients: Analysis of failures after long-term follow-up

Markwin G. Statius Muller, Paul J. Borgstein, Rik Pijpers, Paul A M Van Leeuwen, Paul J. Van Diest, Anurag Gupta, Sybren Meijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background: The sentinel node (SN) concept assumes that early lymphatic metastases, if present, always are found first in the SN. The aim of this study was to determine the reliability of this procedure by establishing the success rate and number of failed procedures during a follow-up period of at least 2 years. Methods: From August 1993 to November 1996, 204 consecutive patients with stage I and II cutaneous melanoma underwent SN biopsy by a triple technique. Preoperatively, all patients underwent (dynamic) lymphoscintigraphy. A gamma probe and blue dye helped localize the SN(s) during surgery, and these nodes subsequently were excised. These lymph nodes were step-sectioned and examined by routine and immunohistochemical staining. If the SN contained tumor cells, a lymphadenectomy was performed at a later date. Results: The median follow-up time was 42 months. The success rate was 99%. Three patients developed a recurrence in the negative SN basin during follow-up, without simultaneous appearance of (locoregional) metastases. Conclusions: With a 99% success rate and a 1.5% rate of failed SN procedures (7% false-negative rate) after a median follow-up of 3.5 years, we concluded that the combined triple technique approach of detecting the SN was a reliable method to accurately identify and retrieve the SN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • False-negative
  • Follow-up
  • Locoregional lymph basin recurrence
  • Melanoma
  • Sentinel node procedure
  • Success rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Reliability of the sentinel node procedure in melanoma patients: Analysis of failures after long-term follow-up'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this