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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy: Precision Diagnostics for Gynecologic Cancers



A sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) can offer more effective treatment outcomes and improved quality of life for patients with gynecologic cancers.

These procedures require careful planning before surgery is performed. At Fox Chase Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary approach to care means that patients who come to us for nodal assessment receive specialized care from a team of experienced gynecologic oncologists.



Christina S. Chu, MD

SLNB plays a key role in staging certain gynecologic cancers, allowing a patient’s care team to develop an optimized treatment plan with all of the appropriate information in place.

“We have several studies that show it’s an effective method of identifying positive nodes that can be used to determine a cancer’s stage and spread,” said Christina S. Chu, MD, gynecologic surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. “Once we have that information, we can best tailor the patient’s therapy. Do they need radiation? Where should we direct that therapy?”

SLNB also poses a lower risk for serious side effects compared to full lymph node dissection. Those risks include lymphedema and an increased likelihood of infection near the affected area. “It’s a way to reduce morbidity and the side effects of nodal assessment,” Dr. Chu said.



Visualization of sentinel lymph nodes

SLNB for gynecologic cancer requires a team of specialized surgeons and pathologists as well as advanced hardware and technology. Patients will get the best outcome when they undergo their procedure at a dedicated cancer center that can serve as a starting point for advanced treatment. “Where a patient begins their cancer care matters,” Dr. Chu said.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is renowned for its surgical and gynecologic oncologists and gynecologic pathologists. As leaders in their fields, they work collaboratively to offer precision diagnostics, the most advanced treatment options, and personalized follow-up care for gynecologic cancers. By working together, we can best meet the needs of patients as individuals.


SLNBs for gynecologic cancers should be performed at the same time a patient undergoes a hysterectomy for endometrial cancer; they cannot be performed afterward. That underscores the importance of preoperative planning on the part of patients and their care teams.


For gynecologic cancers, SLNB is most commonly used for patients with endometrial cancer. For patients who are having a hysterectomy for endometrial cancer, a sentinel node biopsy is typically recommended since both the morbidity and side effects from the procedure are low.

Patients with vulvar and cervical cancer may be candidates for the procedure as well. SLNB is typically recommended for vulvar cancer in cases where a patient’s tumor depth of invasion is greater than one millimeter. It may be recommended for cervical cancer if the patient is considering radical hysterectomy, their tumor is resectable, and imaging tests have not shown obvious lymph node involvement.


To refer a patient, please call 888-FOX-CHASE (888-369-2427). If you have any questions, our key account management team is here to help you.

Diane Brown | 215-880-9969

Laura Higdon | 267-605-2020

Joseph Karensky | 445-206-5228

Sharon Klaver | 267-990-1254