Background: Nodal metastasis from cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is poorly predicted clinically and is associated with a high mortality rate.
Methods: From 2010 to 2013, patients with high-risk cutaneous SCC were assessed with sentinel node biopsy (SNB) either at the time of primary cutaneous tumor resection or at secondary wide local excision.
Results: Of 57 patients, 8 (14%) had nodal metastasis. Significant predictors of metastasis are the number of high-risk factors (p =.008), perineural invasion (PNI; p =.05), and lymphovascular invasion (LVI; p =.05). During a mean of 19.4 months, 9 patients developed recurrence and 6 died of cutaneous SCC, indicating that over 1300 patients would be required for a randomized controlled trial with 80% power to detect a significant difference in disease-free survival.
Conclusion: Lymph node metastasis occurs in 14% of patients with high-risk cutaneous SCC. Larger studies will be required to identify which "high-risk" factors should be considered as an indication for surgical assessment of the nodal basin.
- squamous cell carcinoma
- skin cancer
- head and neck
- sentinel node biopsy