The long-term prognostic impact of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with primary cutaneous melanoma: a prospective study with 10-year follow-up.

Research paper by Mattia M Portinari, Gabriele G Baldini, Massimo M Guidoboni, Alessandro A Borghi, Stefano S Panareo, Simona S Bonazza, Gianlorenzo G Dionigi, Paolo P Carcoforo

Indexed on: 08 Nov '18Published on: 08 Nov '18Published in: Annals of surgical treatment and research


Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy (SLNB) is widely accepted for staging of melanoma patients. It has been shown that clinico-pathological features such as Breslow thickness, ulceration, age, and sex are better predictors of relapse and survival than SLN status alone. The aims of this study were to evaluate the long-term (10-year) prognostic impact of SLNB and to determine predictive factors associated with SLN metastasis, relapse, and melanoma specific mortality (MSM). This was a prospective observational study on 289 consecutive patients with primary cutaneous melanoma who underwent SLNB from January 2000 to December 2007, and followed until January 2014, at an Italian academic hospital. SLN was positive in 64 patients (22.1%). The median follow-up was 116 months (79-147 months). Ten-year disease-free survival and melanoma specific survival were poor in patients with positive SLN (58.7% and 66.4%, respectively). Only the increasing Breslow thickness resulted independently associated to an increased risk of SLN metastasis. Cox regression analysis showed that a Breslow thickness >2 mm was an independent predictor of relapse, and male sex and Breslow thickness >2 mm was a predictor of MSM. At 10 years, SLN metastasis was not significantly associated to either relapse or MSM. After the fifth year of follow-up, SLN metastasis is not an independent predictive factor of relapse or mortality which are mainly influenced by the characteristics of the primary tumor and of the patient. Patients with a Breslow thickness >2 mm regardless of the SLN status should be considered at high risk for 10-year relapse and mortality.

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