BACKGROUND Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC), the second most common cancer in whites, may result in nodal metastasis in 4% of patients. In the last decade, sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) became the common practice for treating patients with invasive skin cancers such as melanoma, although its use in patients with CSCC is still under debate. OBJECTIVE To find the rate of cervical lymph node metastasis in the series of patients with CSCC of the head and neck and to identify those who may need SLNB. MATERIALS AND METHODS A retrospective data collection on all patients diagnosed with CSCC of head and neck during the years 1998 to 2005. RESULTS A total of 572 patients with 725 head and neck CSCC were included in the study group. During the follow-up period, 10 (1.3%) patients developed lymph node metastases and no patient developed distant metastases. The probability of lymph node metastasis within 6 years for T1 and T2 tumors was 1.09% and 5.46%, respectively (p = .0387). CONCLUSION Because of the relatively low incidence of cervical lymph node metastases in patients with CSCC of the head and neck, SLNB for clinically N0 patients is not justified.
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