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Comparison of outcomes between the one-step and two-step sentinel lymph node mapping techniques in endometrial cancer


Introduction Fluorescence image-guided sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy using a two-step mapping technique incorporates sequential injection of indocyanine green into the bilateral uterine cornus, followed by cervical injection. Outcomes were compared with the conventional cervical (one-step) method .

Methods Patients with FIGO stage I-III endometrial cancer who underwent laparoscopic or robotic staging, including SLN biopsy, from May 2014 to December 2018, were retrospectively reviewed. Patient characteristics, pre-operative imaging, SLN detection pattern, pathologic result, adjuvant, and recurrence locations were analyzed.

Results A total of 199 patients received one-step (n=123) and two-step (n=76) SLN biopsy. Para-aortic SLN were more frequently identified in the two-step group. Lower and upper para-aortic SLN were identified in 67.1% and 38.2%, respectively, in the two-step group and in 18.7% and 5.7% in the one-step group (p<0.001). The number of para-aortic SLN harvested was superior in the two-step group (p<0.001). Metastatic para-aortic SLN were found in 7.9% of the two-step group and 2.4% of the one-step group (p=0.070). In detecting nodal metastasis, the sensitivities of the one- and two-step methods were 91.7% and 100.0%, negative predictive values were 99.0% and 100.0%, false-negative rates were 8.3% and 0%, and accuracy rates were 99.1% and 100.0%, respectively. The one-step method identified only three out of eight para-aortic lymph node metastases and missed five para-aortic lymph node metastases. There was no missed para-aortic lymph node metastasis in the two-step group. Recurrence was observed in two patients (2.6%; vaginal vault and adrenal gland) in the two-step group and seven patients (5.7%) including three nodal recurrences in the one-step group (p=0.307).

Discussion Two-step SLN mapping improved the para-aortic SLN detection rate, a known pitfall of conventional cervical injection. Proper evaluation of aortic nodal status will assist in the tailoring of adjuvant and prevent undertreatment of patients with isolated para-aortic metastasis.

  • endometrial neoplasms
  • sentinel lymph node
  • lymphatic metastasis
  • neoplasm recurrence, local

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