Long-term follow-up of vulvar cancer patients evaluated with sentinel lymph node biopsy alone

Katina Robison*, Dario Roque, Carolyn McCourt, Ashley Stuckey, Paul A. Disilvestro, C. James Sung, Margaret Steinhoff, C. O. Granai, Richard G. Moore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objective The objective of this study was to examine SLN evaluation alone in women with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the vulva and evaluate the inguinal recurrence and complication rates. Methods An IRB approved prospective study enrolled patients with SCC of the vulva. Peritumoral injection of Tc-99 sulfur colloid and blue dye was used to identify SLNs intraoperatively. Patients with negative SLN for metastasis were followed clinically without further treatment. Patients with metastasis to a SLN underwent full groin node dissection followed by standard treatment protocols. Results A total of 73 women were enrolled onto protocol with 69 patients undergoing SLN dissection. Mean age was 66.9 years (range: 29-91) with 47 stage I, 12 stage II, 9 stage III, 2 stage IV and 3 unstaged patients. SLN dissections were successful in 63 patients. Of the 111 groins evaluated with a SLN dissection 93% had a SLN identified with an average of 2 SLN per groin. There were 92 groins with negative SLN and 11 groins with positive SLN. 57 patients had negative SLN and underwent conservative management with the median follow-up of 58.3 months. Three patients experienced groin recurrences (2 unilateral, 1 bilateral) for a recurrence rate of 5.2% (3/57). The complication rate for the inguinal incisions was 17.5% (1 cellulitis, 1 abscess, 2 lymphoceles, 5 lymphedema and leg pain). Conclusions Isolated SLN dissection alone has a low inguinal recurrence rate with decreased complications and should be considered as an option for women with SCC of the vulva.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-420
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Inguinal recurrence rates
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Vulvar cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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