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BMJ Clin Evid. 2007 Jun 1;2007. pii: 1705.

Malignant melanoma (non-metastatic).

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Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK.



The incidence of malignant melanoma has increased over the past 25 years in the UK, but death rates have remained fairly constant. Five-year survival ranges from 20% to 95% depending on disease stage. Risks are greater in white populations and in people with higher numbers of skin naevi.


We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions to prevent malignant melanoma? Is there an optimal surgical margin for the primary excision of melanoma? What are the effects of elective lymph node dissection in people with malignant melanoma with clinically uninvolved lymph nodes? What are the effects of sentinel lymph node biopsy in people with malignant melanoma with clinically uninvolved lymph nodes? What are the effects of adjuvant treatment for malignant melanoma? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to October 2006 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


We found 30 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.


In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adjuvant vaccines; elective lymph node dissection; low-, intermediate-, and high-dose adjuvant interferon alfa; sentinel lymph node biopsy; suncreens; surveillance for early recurrence; and wide excisions.

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