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Ann Surg Oncol. 2004 Mar;11(3 Suppl):198S-202S.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy does not change melanoma-specific survival among patients with Breslow thickness greater than four millimeters.

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  • 1National Cancer Institute, Naples, Italy. corrado.caraco@fastwebnet.it

Abstract

Management of patients with cutaneous melanoma in the absence of lymph node metastases is still controversial. The experience at the National Cancer Institute in Naples was analyzed to evaluate 3-year disease-free survival and overall survival for all patients who underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLB) with Breslow thickness greater than 4 mm. Data from 359 sentinel biopsies performed in the past 5 years were reviewed to determine the effect of the treatment on disease-free survival and overall survival after stratifying patients for node status, tumor ulceration, and Breslow thickness. Statistical analysis showed a better 3-year survival for sentinel node-negative patients than for sentinel node-positive cases (88.4% and 72.9%, respectively; P <.05). Tumor ulceration retained its prognostic significance despite lymph node status, indicating a higher risk for development of distant metastases. Survival curves associated with thicker melanomas did not show significant differences between negative- and positive-SLB patients. SLB provides accurate staging of nodal status in melanoma patients who have no clinical evidence of metastases. Longer follow-up and final results from ongoing trials are necessary to definitively clarify the role of this procedure.

PMID:
15023751
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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