A complete magnetic sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure in oral cancer patients: A pilot study

Eliane R. Nieuwenhuis, Barry Kolenaar, Alexander J.M. van Bemmel, Jurrit J. Hof, Joop van Baarlen, Anke Christenhusz, Joost J. Pouw, Bernard ten Haken, Lejla Alic*, Remco de Bree

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives: To assess the feasibility and merits of a complete magnetic approach for a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) procedure in oral cancer patients.

Materials and methods: This study included ten oral cancer patients (stage cT1-T2N0M0) scheduled for elective neck dissection (END). Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) were administered peritumorally prior to surgery. A preoperative MRI was acquired to identify lymph nodes (LNs) with iron uptake. A magnetic detector was used to identify magnetic hotspots prior, during, and after the SLNB procedure. The resected sentinel LNs (SLNs) were evaluated using step-serial sectioning, and the neck dissection specimen was assessed by routine histopathological examination. A postoperative MRI was acquired to observe any residual iron.

Results: Of ten primary tumors, eight were located in the tongue, one floor-of-mouth (FOM), and one tongue-FOM transition. SPIO injections were experienced as painful by nine patients, two of whom developed a tongue swelling. In eight patients, magnetic SLNs were successfully detected and excised during the magnetic SLNB procedure. During the END procedure, additional magnetic SLNs were identified in three patients. Histopathology confirmed iron deposits in sinuses of excised SLNs. Three SLNs were harboring metastases, of which one was identified only during the END procedure. The END specimens revealed no further metastases.

Conclusion: A complete magnetic SLNB procedure was successfully performed in eight of ten patients (80% success rate), therefore the procedure seems feasible. Recommendations for further investigation are made including: use of anesthetics, magnetic tracer volume, planning preoperative MRI, comparison to conventional technique and follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105464
JournalOral Oncology
Early online date27 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Magnetic handheld probe
  • Magnetic tracer
  • Oral cancer
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • SPIO
  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide
  • UT-Hybrid-D

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