Supraclavicular lymph nodes

Last revised by Dr Yuranga Weerakkody on 22 Mar 2022

The supraclavicular lymph nodes (often shortened to the supraclavicular nodes) are a paired group of lymph nodes located on each side in the hollow superior to the clavicle, close to the sternoclavicular joint. It is the final common pathway of the lymphatic system as it joins the central venous system. They oversee the transport of lymph from the thoracic cavity and abdomen.

Specific to the right supraclavicular lymph node is the drainage of the mid-section of the chest, esophagus and lungs.

One of the left supraclavicular lymph nodes, known as the Virchow node, drains the thoracic duct, abdomen, and thorax. It is adjacent to the junction where incoming lymph is introduced back into the venous circulation through the left subclavian vein.

Some malignancies such as lung, head and neck, breast, esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, gynecologic, and prostate cancers have a propensity to metastasize to supraclavicular lymph nodes. Troisier sign is the name given to left-sided supraclavicular lymphadenopathy, highly suggestive of abdominal malignancy.

They are categorized a station 1 nodes International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) in the classification of thoracic lymph node stations.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: right supraclavicular nodal metastases
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  • Case 2: right supraclavicular necrotic metastases
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