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Surg Clin North Am. 2003 Feb;83(1):61-75.

Prognostic factors in primary cutaneous melanoma.

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  • 1Melanoma Center and Department of Dermatology Cutaneous Oncology Program, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, 1600 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


Tumor thickness has historically been the single most important factor in risk assessment for stage I and II melanoma patients. However, it is possible to more accurately determine a patient's prognosis by also using other known prognostic indicators, such as ulceration, vascular invasion, and angiogenesis. A probabilistic approach to risk assessment has implications for the appropriate selection of treatment modalities, such as sentinel lymph node biopsy and re-excision margins. Each patient's risk for recurrence also has implications for which follow-up protocol would be most appropriate for the patient. Finally, those risk factors that repeatedly demonstrate an independent impact on prognosis should be used as stratification factors in adjuvant therapy trials.

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