January 2011

UNC Study Uses Technology to Assist with Sentinel Lymph Node Evaluation

Sentinel lymph node (SLN) evaluation has been studied in the management of cervical and uterine cancers as a means to reduce lymphedema and improve the sensitivity of surgical staging. However, the traditional techniques for identifying SLNs present significant technical challenges for surgeons, limiting widespread use.

John Boggess, MD, associate professor in the division of gynecologic oncology, and Emma Rossi, MD, a fellow in the division of gynecologic oncology, think real-time detection of SLNs with robotically assisted endoscopic near infrared (NIR) imaging could be a solution. Drs. Boggess and Rossi are pictured above.

The first to apply this technology in humans, their study uses an integrated NIR fluorescence capable endoscope and camera system to identify pelvic and para-aortic SLNs in patients undergoing robotically assisted uterine or cervical cancer staging.

Participants receive injections of the fluorescing dye Indocyanine Green (ICG) into the cervix or endometrium during their cancer staging surgery. An NIR fluorescence capable endoscope and camera system is used to identify fluorescence emitted by ICG within the SLNs and lymphatic channels.

The research team has identified sentinel nodes in all patients to date and is also well on its way to establishing the optimal dosing schedule.

After the technique is optimized, the study will expand to establish the sensitivity of the technology in identifying occult metastatic disease. If successful, study results have the potential to change the way cervical and endometrial cancers are surgically managed in the future.

For more information about this study, contact Dr. Rossi at 919-966-5996.

UNC OB/GYN Online Referral Service

Since going online in October 2009, the UNC OB/GYN online referral has taken off!

If you need one of our providers to see your patient, simply visit the UNC OB/GYN website and click on the icon pictured on left.

Within 24 business hours, we will contact your patient to schedule her appointment and will communicate the appointment date to your office.