Impact of Sentinel Node Approach in Gynecologic Cancer on Training Needs

Amanika Kumar, Sumer A. Wallace, William A. Cliby, Gretchen E. Glaser, Andrea Mariani, Mario M. Leitao, Michael Frumovitz, Carrie L. Langstraat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Study Objective: We sought to estimate the impact of sentinel nodes in gynecologic oncology on fellowship training and discuss potential solutions. Design: Retrospective multi-institution cohort (Canadian Task Force classification II-2). Setting: Three tertiary cancer referral cancer centers. Patients: Patients with endometrial and vulvar cancer undergoing lymph node evaluation. Interventions: Patient history and fellow case volumes were evaluated retrospectively for type of lymph node assessment. Measurements and Main Results: Minimally invasive endometrial cancer and vulvar cancer fellow case volumes in 3 large institutions were reviewed and average annual volumes calculated for each clinical gynecologic oncology fellow. For vulvar cancer, probabilities of sentinel lymph node mapping and laterality of lesions were estimated from the literature. For endometrial cancer, estimates of lymphadenectomy rates were determined using probabilities calculated from our historic database and from review of the literature. Modeling the approaches to lymphadenectomy in endometrial cancer (full, selective, and sentinel), 100% versus 68% versus 24%, respectively, of patients would require complete pelvic lymphadenectomy and 100% versus 34% versus 12% would require para-aortic lymphadenectomy. In vulvar cancer, rates of inguinal femoral lymphadenectomy are expected to drop from 81% of unilateral groins to only 12% of groins. Conclusions: Sentinel lymph node biopsy for endometrial and vulvar cancer will play an increasing role in practice, and coincident with this will be a dramatic decrease in pelvic, para-aortic, and inguinal femoral lymphadenectomies. The declining numbers will require new strategies to maintain competency in our specialty. New approaches to surgical training and continued medical education will be necessary to ensure adequate training for fellows and young faculty across gynecologic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-732
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Endometrial cancer
  • Sentinel lymph nodes
  • Surgical training
  • Vulvar cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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