COMPLETELY RESECTED STAGE III MELANOMA CONTROVERSY; 15 YEARS OF NATIONAL TERTIARY CENTRE EXPERIENCE
Two prospective randomized studies analysing cutaneous melanoma (CM) patients with sentinel lymph node (SLN) metastases and rapid development of adjuvant therapy have changed our approach to stage III CM treatment. The aim of this study was to compare results of retrospective survival analysis of stage III CM patients’ treatment from Slovenian national CM register to current clinical guidelines.
Since 2000, all Slovenian CM patients with primary tumour ≥ TIb are treated at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana and data are prospectively collected into a national CM registry. A retrospective analysis of 2426 sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsies and 789 lymphadenectomies performed until 2015 was conducted using Kaplan-Meier survival curves and log-rank tests.
Positive SLN was found in 519/2426 (21.4%) of patients and completion dissection (CLND) was performed in 455 patients. The 5-year overall survival (OS) of CLND group was 58% versus 47% of metachronous metastases group (MLNM) (p = 0.003). The 5-year OS of patients with lymph node (LN) metastases and unknown primary site (UPM) was 45% versus 21% of patients with synchronous LN metastasis.
Patients with SLN tumour burden < 0.3 mm had 5-year OS similar to SLN negative patients (86% vs. 85%; p = 0.926). The 5-year OS of patients with burden > 1.0 mm was similar to the MLNM group (49% vs 47%; p = 0.280).
Stage III melanoma patients is a heterogeneous group with significant OS differences. CLND after positive SLNB might still remain a method of treatment for some of those patients if low postoperative complication rates can be reassured.
KEY WORDS: cutaneous melanoma, sentinel node biopsy, completion lymph node dissection, overall survival
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