Sentinel lymph node biopsy for melanoma: an important risk-stratification tool

David E Gyorki and Michael A Henderson
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00645
Published online: 20 October 2014

This test should be routinely considered for patients with intermediate thickness melanoma

Most patients with a new diagnosis of melanoma present with localised disease without clinical evidence of metastasis and are cured by surgical resection. However, a small proportion will harbour occult metastatic disease in the regional lymph nodes. The presence of nodal involvement is the most significant prognostic factor in patients without clinical evidence of distant metastasis.1 The most sensitive test to identify these patients at presentation is sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB).1,2 The sentinel lymph node is the first draining lymph node from the area of skin where the primary tumour arose. The technique was first described over 20 years ago.3 Careful histological examination of the sentinel lymph node by a combination of routine histological and immunohistochemistry tests can accurately identify small-volume metastatic disease.

  • David E Gyorki
  • Michael A Henderson

  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.