Background: Sentinel lymph node biopsy is an increasingly recognised option for accurate staging and subsequent management of the clinically negative neck in early stage oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. However, the technique is currently underused due to several logistic constraints including increased burden on pathology services. Here, we describe the feasibility of an outsourced centralised pathology processing and reporting service for sentinel lymph node biopsies in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Patients and methods: The Southeast England Consortium comprises four surgical centres utilising a central pathology service. Consecutive cases between January 2016 and February 2020 were retrospectively evaluated for survival outcomes and laboratory turnaround times. Results: Twenty-eight per cent from a cohort of 139 patients had positive sentinel nodes. There was a trend towards greater overall, disease-free and disease-specific survival (OS, DFS and DSS, respectively) in sentinel node negative compared to sentinel node positive patients, but these differences were not statistically significant. The sensitivity, negative predictive value and false negative rate were 92.8%, 97.0% and 6.8%, respectively. The mean and mode laboratory TAT were 5 and 4 working days, respectively. Conclusion: An outsourced centralised pathology service is a feasible option to widen the availability of sentinel node biopsy in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-321
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral Pathology and Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date26 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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