Sentinel lymph node biopsy for lung cancer

Lung Cancer

Gregor A, et al. Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2020 - Review.


Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a technique to identify the first lymph node (or nodes) draining a tumor. The underlying principle is that as the first site of cancer spread, evaluation of the sentinel node will be most predictive for wider nodal involvement. The introduction of sentinel node biopsy revolutionized the surgical management of cutaneous melanoma and breast cancer, becoming a key component in the management of such patients. For over 20 years, thoracic surgeons have similarly worked

to apply this technique to lung cancer but have thus far not had the same impact on lung surgery. In this review, we will summarize the ongoing discussions on the role of sentinel node biopsy in lung cancer, the methods for identifying the sentinel node, and the techniques for evaluating the sentinel node specimen. We will also highlight some of the pressing questions investigators should consider when designing a trial for sentinel node mapping. This will clarify the current status of sentinel node biopsy in lung cancer and thus highlight important future directions for research.