Objective Eyelid carcinomas are rare, and the management strategy of regional lymph node metastasis linked to eyelid carcinomas has not been standardized to date. The aim of the present study was to analyze the patterns of regional metastasis and to assess the optimal extent of surgical treatment for lymph node metastasis of eyelid carcinoma. Methods This study was a retrospective review of patient data from a single institution. From a series of 268 eyelid carcinomas, we selected the 21 patients with lymph node metastasis, and we analyzed the patterns of lymphatic spread, approach to treatment and outcomes. Results The most common histological type of eyelid carcinoma with regional metastasis was sebaceous carcinoma (17/21, 81.0%). Submandibular area metastases were seen only in the patients with the primary tumor originating in the medial half of the eyelid, but parotid area metastases were seen in both the patients whose tumors had a medial-half origin and those with a lateral-half origin. Although 11 of the 16 patients with parotid-area metastases underwent a tumorectomy or superficial parotidectomy (which resulted in four cases of recurrence in the parotid area), none of the five patients who underwent a total parotidectomy developed parotid-area recurrence. The incidence of regional recurrence of the patients who received adjuvant radiotherapy (14.3%) was lower than that of the patients without adjuvant radiotherapy (57.1%). Conclusion Continued surveillance and optimal management of regional lymph node metastases are important for the control and survival of eyelid carcinomas.
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