Time to reconsider the role of sentinel lymph node biopsy in melanoma

Faries MB, Cochran AJ, Thompson JF. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2023 Jan;88(1):e25-e26. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2019.03.064. Epub 2019 Mar 28. PMID: 30928469


The Multicenter Selective Lymphadenectomy Trials indicate that there are no overall or melanoma-specific survival advantages to performing sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) followed by immediate completion lymph node dissection compared with wide excision and observation for patients with positive sentinel nodes. These results make SLNB solely a staging procedure. The role of SLNB in the management of patients with melanoma deserves reappraisal. The potential marginal benefit of SLNB beyond the clinical and pathologic features of the melanoma has not been well studied. The use of sentinel lymph node status alone to accept and stratify patients into trials or to receive adjuvant treatment is not rational.