The aim of this study was to assess the value of sentinel lymph node procedures in gynecologic cancers. A systematic literature overview, using the PubMed database, was performed. In early stage vulvar, endometrial and cervical cancer, lymph node status is the most important prognostic factor. Lymphadenectomy, performed for adequate staging, is associated with high morbidity rates. Sentinel node procedures hold the promise of adequate staging with less treatment-related morbidity. Sentinel lymph node procedures in patients with early-stage vulvar cancer are associated with low recurrence rates, excellent survival, lower morbidity and shorter hospital stay compared to classical inguinal dissection. Therefore, these procedures should be the standard of care in early-stage unilateral vulvar cancer. Reports on sentinel lymph node procedures in endometrial and cervical cancer are ambiguous. The procedures in these cancers are reported in small studies only. Detection rates vary depending on the used injection sites and the used tracers. Bilateral detection rates are low and are not mentioned by default. Large controlled multi-institutional studies are necessary to evaluate the validity and the prognostic significance of the sentinel lymph node procedures in endometrial and cervical cancer.
- Endometrial Neoplasms/pathology
- Genital Neoplasms, Female/pathology
- Lymph Node Excision
- Neoplasm Staging/methods
- Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
- Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/pathology
- Vulvar Neoplasms/pathology