Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Surg Oncol. 2006 Mar;13(3):302-9. Epub 2006 Jan 30.

Results of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with thin melanoma.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA.



Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy has been shown to be a highly accurate method of staging nodal basins in melanoma patients. Although this technique is widely accepted in patients with intermediate-thickness tumors, it is unclear what the indications are for thin (< or = 1 mm) melanoma.


From May 1991 to October 2004, 223 patients with thin melanoma underwent SLN biopsy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Most patients with thin melanoma were selected for the procedure because of high-risk clinicopathologic features.


Nodal metastases were found in eight patients (3.6%) who underwent SLN biopsy. All positive SLNs were found in patients with > or = .75 mm-thick and Clark level IV melanoma (8 of 114; 7%). Age, sex, tumor location, thickness, Clark level, ulceration, regression, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, mitotic rate, and number of mapped nodal basins were not predictive of positive SLNs (chi(2); P = not significant). With a median follow-up of 25 months, there have been no recurrences or deaths in patients with melanoma < .75 mm. Six patients have had regional and/or systemic recurrences (2.7%), only one of whom had a positive SLN. Three patients have died of melanoma; all had negative SLNs.


Nodal metastasis in thin melanoma is uncommon, especially in patients with < .75 mm and Clark level II or III melanoma. In our experience, no single clinicopathologic factor was predictive of nodal metastases. The prognostic implications of positive SLNs in thin melanoma remain undefined.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk