November 05, 2015
4 min watch
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VIDEO: Daniel G. Coit, MD, FACS, outlines history, role of sentinel lymph node biopsy in melanoma

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Since the development of sentinel lymph node biopsy in the early 1990s, the status of this node has become “the single most important prognostic indicator in patients with intermediate-thickness melanoma,” according to Daniel G. Coit, MD, FACS.

Coit, an attending surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a member of the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging committee, and chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network melanoma panel, discusses the development of the sentinel lymph node biopsy and Donald Morton, MD, who established the technique, as well as the clinical trial Morton conducted to confirm the efficacy of the procedure.

As newer molecular techniques are developed that “interrogate the biologic potential of primary melanomas,” the continued use of the sentinel lymph node biopsy “is a matter of ongoing controversy,” according to Coit.

“But, for right now, sentinel lymph node biopsy in the initial management [of the disease] represents a standard to accurately stage and risk-stratify patients with intermediate-thickness melanoma,” he said.