Current Perspectives on Lymphatic Mapping in Carcinomas of the Uterine Corpus and Cervix

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  • 1 From the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Lymphatic mapping and sentinel node identification are rapidly becoming the standard of care in managing many malignancies. These procedures have allowed focused evaluation of relevant regional lymphatics, which has led not only to improved precision of nodal pathology, but also to treatment triage and the potential for reduced postoperative morbidity. Given its clinical potential, new cancer primary sites are being evaluated, including those of the female genital tract. Of these, carcinoma of the vulva seems the most apposite; however, it is a rare malignancy and therefore large randomized treatment trials based on sentinel node triage are difficult to perform. Cancers of the uterus–cervix and corpus are more common. Because the physiologic lymphatic drainage from this organ is ambiguous, principle lymphatic basins are located in many different anatomic locales, making sentinel node identification precarious, yet highly relevant and informative. Current experience in carcinoma of the cervix suggests the concept is feasible. A consensus in corpus cancer has not been reached, although both sites are of keen interest with the increasing use of laparoscopy in surgical management. Prospective multi-institutional validation studies are underway.

Correspondence: Robert L. Coleman, MD, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1155 Herman Pressler Drive, CPB 6.3271, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail: rcoleman@mdanderson.org
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