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Ann Surg Oncol. 2008 May;15(5):1476-84. doi: 10.1245/s10434-007-9717-9. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Prognosis and determinants of outcome following locoregional or distant recurrence in patients with cutaneous melanoma.

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Sydney Melanoma Unit, Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia.



Information on prognosis for patients with cutaneous melanoma after locoregional or distant recurrence is sparse and controversial. The aim of this study was to analyze factors influencing outcome after the development of a first relapse.


Information was extracted from the Sydney Melanoma Unit database for 873 melanoma patients with American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Stage I and II disease treated between 1960 and 2002 who relapsed following treatment of their primary melanoma. Clinical and pathologic factors predicting survival were analyzed using the Cox proportional hazards regression model.


Initial presentation of recurrence was local: 95 patients (10.9%), in transit: 86 patients (9.9%), regional lymph node: 300 patients (34.4%), and distant: 392 patients (44.9%). Independent prognostic factors for survival of the 481 patients with only locoregional recurrence were type of recurrence, primary tumor ulceration, and patient age. Predictors for longer survival in the 392 patients with distant metastasis at the time of first presentation with recurrence were lung vs other sites and diagnosis of relapse after 1990 compared with diagnosis before 1980.


The type of recurrence is the most important prognostic factor in melanoma patients who relapse. Primary tumor ulceration is the most important pathologic predictor. The results of this study suggest that management of distant metastases may have improved over the last 25 years, but many confounders and improved staging techniques make assessment of this unreliable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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