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In Vivo. 2013 Nov-Dec;27(6):827-33.

The integrated role of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of soft tissue metastases from melanoma: preliminary report of a single-center experience and literature review.

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Via Degli Olivi 18, 06123, Perugia, Italy.


Currently melanoma has the fastest growing incidence of all cancers in men and the second in women (after lung cancer) in Western countries. Since prognosis of skin melanoma is excellent in early stages but dramatically worsens in advanced stages, an early diagnosis is fundamental in granting patients a favorable outcome. Sentinel node (SN) biopsy represents the gold standard for accurately staging melanoma, but other tests are commonly endorsed both in the initial staging work-up and in the follow-up, such as ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT)-scan and positron emission tomography (PET)-CT. PET-CT, among others, has high sensitivity and specificity for the study of distant metastases, the assessment of soft tissues and lymph node involvement, and for the guidance of surgical biopsies. Ultrasonography (US) is a non-invasive procedure whose use has recently expanded in our service, both preoperatively, intraoperatively and postoperatively, thanks to its wide availability, low costs and easy and fast reproducibility; ultrasonography even surpassed the reliability of PET-CT or CT-scan in the seven cases presented herein. US is operator-dependent, and this is probably the major limitation of the procedure, together with lack of prospective studies validating its strength, but our preliminary study demonstrates that ultrasound can assume an important role in melanoma, both for staging and the follow-up of patients, especially with lymph nodal or subcutaneous involvement.


Melanoma; nodal metastases; surgery; ultrasonography

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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