To determine the efficacy and safety of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in the management of eyelid and conjunctival malignancy.
A literature search was performed in August 2019 and January 2020 for articles published in English in the PubMed and Cochrane Library databases. This search yielded 151 articles that were reviewed for relevancy, of which 27 were deemed to have met the inclusion criteria for this assessment. The data from these articles were abstracted and the articles were rated for strength of evidence by the panel methodologist.
All 27 studies were rated level III, and a total of 197 SLNBs were reported. Diagnoses included conjunctival and eyelid cutaneous melanoma (85 and 42 patients, respectively), sebaceous gland carcinoma (35), squamous cell carcinoma (26), Merkel cell carcinoma (6), pigmented epithelioid melanocytoid tumor (1), mucoepidermoid carcinoma (1), and signet ring carcinoma (1). Tracer was found in regional lymph nodes in 100% of patients in 21 of 27 articles and in 191 of 197 patients overall. The number of lymph nodes removed ranged from 1 to 16, with the majority ranging from 1 to 5. Tumor-positive lymph nodes were found in 33 of 197 (16.8%) patients, prompting recommendations for adjuvant treatments. Survival data were reported for 16 of these patients, with follow-up periods ranging from 3 to 36 (average 12.7) months. Fourteen of 16 patients received adjuvant treatments. Nine were alive and well, 1 was alive with metastases, and 6 died from metastatic disease (including 2 patients who refused additional treatment). False-negative SLNB was reported in 5 articles involving 9 of 197 (4.6%) procedures. Complications were documented in 7 of 27 articles and included transient facial nerve weakness, persistent blue-dye staining of the conjunctiva, neck hematoma, and suture abscess.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a promising procedure in patients with eyelid and conjunctival malignancy, and it is useful in identifying sentinel lymph nodes. However, at present, there exists insufficient evidence that SLNB improves patient outcomes and survival. Recognition of microscopic metastatic disease may prove beneficial in staging and guiding adjuvant therapy.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.