Is there a role for sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in the management of sarcoma? Sentinel node biopsy has dramatically changed the management of melanoma and breast cancer, helping surgeons avoid radical lymphadenectomies in node negative patients who would previously have undergone a more morbid operation with little benefit, or remained pathologically unstaged. Many investigators have explored the use of lymphatic mapping for malignancies other than breast cancer or melanoma. Lymphatic mapping and sentinel node biopsy has not been investigated in the management of sarcomas, which is not surprising given that the majority of sarcomas spread by local extension or hematogenously. Regional lymph node metastases are rare; developing in about 3-10% of patients with localized disease. However, among certain subtypes of high-grade sarcomas there is a propensity for regional lymph node metastases. These include rhabdomyosarcoma, epithelioid sarcoma, clear cell sarcoma, synovial sarcoma, and vascular sarcomas. It is in these particular subtypes that there may be a benefit to SLN biopsy.





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