Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) involves removing a sentinel or watchman lymph node, the first node involved in the movement of a tumour from the primary cancer to the lymph nodes. If this is negative, it is surmised that the other nodes are not involved.
It is likely that sentinel nodal status could influence the administration of adjuvant therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy or both. Among the gynaecological cancers, SLNB could perhaps make a significant impact in women with endometrial cancer.
Sentinel node biopsy is performed in many women with breast cancer and is becoming the standard procedure for women with vulval cancer in the UK.
Declaration of interests (guideline developers)
Professor O Devaja MRCOG, Tunbridge Wells: None declared.
Dr HA Nagar FRCOG, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Dr Nagar has received sponsorship from Ethicon for laparoscopic surgery teaching.