Objectives To estimate the diagnostic accuracy of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNB) in patients with penile cancer and assess SNB complications in a national multicentre setting. Patients and methods Retrospectively data were collected from records in four university centres by one medical doctor covering all SNBs performed in Denmark between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2010. Patients had either impalpable lymph nodes (LNs) in one or both groins, or had a palpable inguinal mass from which aspiration cytology failed to reveal malignancy. Patients were injected with nanocolloid technetium and had a scintigram recorded before the SNB. The primary endpoint was LN recurrence on follow-up. The secondary endpoint was complications after SNB. Diagnostic accuracy was computed. Results In all, 409 groins in 222 patients were examined by SNB. The median (interquartile range) follow-up of patients who survived was 6.6 (5-10) years. Of 343 negative groins, eight were false negatives. The sensitivity was 89.2% (95% confidence interval 79.8-95.2%) per groin. Interestingly, four of 67 T1G1 patients had a positive SNB. In all, 28 of 222 (13%) patients had complications of Clavien-Dindo grade I-IIIa. Conclusion Penile cancer SNB with a close follow-up stages LN involvement reliably and has few complications in a national multicentre setting. Inguinal LN dissection was avoided in 76% of patients.