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AIMS AND BACKGROUND: The aim of our study was to assess the feasibility of sentinel lymph node (SLN) detection in colon cancer using a radiochromoguided technique. The regional lymph node status is crucial for colorectal cancer staging and the stage of disease at the time of diagnosis is the main factor influencing therapeutic decision-making and patient survival. METHODS AND STUDY DESIGN: Between April and June 2001 eight patients with colon cancer were studied by radiochromoguided sentinel lymph node mapping. At the time of surgery 2 ml of patent blue dye was injected around the tumor, followed after 10 minutes by 2 ml of 99mTc-labeled albumin. After 30 minutes the SLN was identified by a gamma probe. Surgery was completed by standard resection. The SLN was processed for permanent hematoxylin and eosin staining and for immunohistochemical examination with anti-CEA and anti-cytokeratin antibodies. RESULTS: SLNs were identified in six patients; two were negative for metastasis by hematoxylin-eosin and immunohistochemical examination, two were positive for metastasis by both methods, and two were negative for metastasis by hematoxylin-eosin but positive by immunohistochemical examination. There were no false negative SLNs and no complications occurred. CONCLUSION: The actual utility of SLN detection for prognostic purposes is still unknown, but intraoperative radiochromoguided SLN mapping is technically feasible in colon cancer, although it is associated with more technical difficulties than in breast cancer and malignant melanoma.