Diagnostic Efficacy of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Early Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Meta-Analysis of 66 Studies.

Liu M, Wang SJ, Yang X, Peng H. 2017. Diagnostic Efficacy of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Early Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Meta-Analysis of 66 Studies. PLoS One. 12:e0170322. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170322.

OBJECTIVES: The diagnostic efficacy of sentinel lymph node biopsy(SLNB) in early oral squamous cell carcinoma(OSCC) still remains controversial. This meta-analysis was conducted to assess the diagnostic value of SLNB in clinically neck-negative T1-2 OSCC.

METHODS: A systematic literature search for relevant literature published up to September 11, 2016 was conducted in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane Library and ClinicalTrials, and the reference lists of eligible studies were examined. Data from different studies were pooled to estimate the summary sentinel lymph node(SLN) identification rate, sensitivity, negative predictive value. Summary receiver operator characteristic curve(SROC) was plotted and area under the SROC curve (AUC) was calculated to evaluate the overall diagnostic efficacy. Threshold effect was assessed with use of the spearman correlation coefficient. Between-study heterogeneity was tested using the Q tests and the I2 statistics. Subgroup analyses were conducted in view of the greater effect of different study characteristics on diagnostic efficacy of SLN. Deeks’ funnel plot asymmetry test was performed to evaluate publication bias. Sensitivity analysis was evaluated through omitting studies one by one and comparing the pooled results of random-effects model and fixed-effects model. All analyses were performed using Review Manager (version 5.3.5), Meta-DiSc (version 1.4), Comprehensive Meta Analysis (version 2.0) and STATA (version 12).

RESULTS: 66 studies comprising 3566 patients with cT1-2N0 OSCC were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled SLN identification rate was 96.3%(95% CI: 95.3%-97.0%). The pooled sensitivity was 0.87 (95% CI: 0.85-0.89), pooled negative predictive value was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.93-0.95), and AUC was 0.98 (95% CI: 0.97-0.99). Subgroup analyses indicated that SLN assessment with immunohistochemistry(IHC) achieved a significantly higher sensitivity than without IHC.

CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis suggests that SLNB has a high diagnostic accuracy in cT1-2N0 oral squamous cell carcinoma, and is an ideal alternative to elective neck dissection. Furthermore, the use of IHC can significantly improve SLNB diagnostic sensitivity for early OSCC.