To determine the prognostic value of the staging criteria for eyelid tumors in the 7th edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging manual and to determine, for each type of eyelid tumor, which AJCC T categories are associated with increased risk of nodal metastasis and thus potential usefulness of sentinel lymph node biopsy.
Systematic review and analysis of articles found by searching PubMed and Google Scholar using the search terms “AJCC,” “eyelid,” “carcinoma,” and “melanoma.”
Rates of local recurrence, regional nodal metastasis, and distant metastasis were approximately 7% to 10%, 1% to 9%, and 0% to 0.8%, respectively, for eyelid squamous cell carcinoma; 5% to 6%, 8% to 23%, and 2% and 14%, respectively, for eyelid sebaceous carcinoma; 10%, 10% to 22%, and 19% to 22%, respectively, for eyelid Merkel cell carcinoma (when staged according to the criteria for eyelid carcinoma as opposed to Merkel cell carcinoma), 14%, 5%, and 0%, respectively, for eyelid sweat gland carcinoma; and 2%, 9%, and 6%, respectively, for eyelid melanoma. Overall, the risks of local recurrence and regional nodal and distant metastasis appeared to increase with increasing AJCC T category, although not statistically significant in all studies. Clinical T2b or greater T category was significantly associated with increased risk of nodal metastasis for eyelid squamous cell carcinomas, sebaceous carcinomas, Merkel cell carcinomas (staged with eyelid carcinoma criteria), sweat gland carcinomas, and melanomas. Clinical T3 or greater T category was significantly associated with distant metastasis for eyelid carcinomas and melanomas.
For eyelid carcinomas and eyelid melanomas, AJCC 7th edition T category correlates with the risks of nodal and distant metastasis, with T2b and larger tumors associated with highest risk of nodal metastasis. Patients with T2b or larger tumors may be candidates for sentinel lymph node biopsy or close nodal surveillance.