The first lymph node to show evidence of metastasis (spread) of a malignant tumour (e.g. breast cancer) via the lymphatic system. Absence of cancer cells in the sentinel node indicates that more distal lymph nodes will also be free of metastasis. In breast cancer, the change in practice to perform axillary lymph node dissection only if the sentinel node contains metastatic tumour has reduced the risk of arm lymphoedema.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.