Background: Methylene blue (M), as a dye in sentinel lymph node mapping (SLNM), has been introduced as an alternative to lymphazurin (L) after the recent shortage of L. M has been evaluated in breast cancer in multiple studies with favorable results. Our study compares L with M in the SLNM of gastrointestinal (GI) tumors. Methods: Between Jan 2005 and Aug 2008, 122 consecutive patients with GI tumors were enrolled. All patients (pts) underwent SLNM with either L or M by subserosal injection of 2-5 mL of dye. Efficacy and rates of adverse reactions were compared between the two dyes. Patients were prospectively monitored for adverse reactions including anaphylaxis, development of blue hives, and tissue necrosis. Results: Of 122 pts, 60 (49.2%) underwent SLNM using L and 62 (50.8%) underwent SLNM using M. Colon cancer (CrCa) was the most common site in both groups. The success rate of L and M in SLNM was 96.6% and 96.7%, respectively, with similar numbers of total number of lymph nodes per pt, SLNs per pt (<3), nodal positivity, skip metastasis, and accuracy. The only adverse reaction in the L group was oxygen desaturation >5% in 5% (3/60) of pts, compared with none in the M group. Cost per vial of L was $210 vs $7 for M. Conclusion: The success rate, nodal positivity, average SLNs per patient, and overall accuracy were similar between L and M. Absence of anaphylaxis and lower cost make M more desirable than L in SLNM of GI tumors.
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