Sentinel Node in Gynecological Cancer

  • Cecilia Escayola Vilanova
  • Denis QuerleuEmail author


The sentinel node technique is increasingly used in vulvar, cervical, and endometrial cancer. There is evidence that injecting the cervix or early unifocal vulvar tumors with the appropriate tracer—patent blue, isocyanine blue, technetium-99m-containing colloid, or indocyanine green—allows the visualization of the lymph channels and the identification of the sentinel node. Only bilateral identification provides relevant oncological information, hence the need to perform a full ipsilateral node dissection when the sentinel node is not identified in one or two pelvic sidewalls. In the same way, bilateral identification is mandatory in case of vulvar cancer involving the midline.

Comprehensive assessment of the sentinel nodes including serial sections and immunohistochemistry is the best known technique to identify low-volume metastatic disease. As a consequence, the sentinel lymph node technique complements full pelvic or inguinal dissection when indicated, by selecting the nodes most at risk and most likely to display small amounts of malignant cells which cannot be found on standard pathological examination of all nodes of a given area.

The evolution toward removing only the sentinel node when negative has been found to be safe in vulvar cancers. In cervical cancers, there is evidence that a negative sentinel node rules out metastatic disease in the other nodes. In endometrial cancer, sentinel node only is an attractive compromise wherever the risk of node involvement is minimal but not zero.


Sentinel node Endometrial cancer Cervical cancer Lymphadenectomy 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hospital Pilar Quiron SaludBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryInstitut BergoniéBordeauxFrance

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