Sentinel lymph node biopsy in esophageal cancer: an essential step towards individualized care

Author: George L Balalis

Lymph node status is the most important prognostic factor in esophageal cancer. Through improved detection of lymph node metastases, using the sentinel lymph node concept, accurate staging and more tailored therapy may be achieved. This review article outlines two principle ways in which the sentinel lymph node concept could dramatically influence current standard of care for patients with esophageal cancer. We discuss three limitations to universal acceptance of the technique, and propose next steps for increasing enthusiasm amongst physicians and surgeons including the development of a universal tracer, and improved contrast agents with novel dual-modality ‘visibility’.
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