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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Status Predicts Melanoma Survival

SLN positivity significantly associated with lower five-year disease-specific survival among patients with clinical stage IIB/C cutaneous melanoma

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | September 28, 2022

For patients with clinical stage IIB/C cutaneous melanoma, sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy provides essential prognostic information, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology .

Richard J. Straker III, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the prognostic significance of SLN staging on disease-specific survival for clinical stage IIB/C primary cutaneous melanoma in the preimmunotherapy era. The analysis included patients who underwent excision of clinical stage IIB/C cutaneous melanoma, identified through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (2004 to 2011). Propensity-matched patients who did and did not undergo SLN biopsy wre compared; matched patients were then further stratified by SLN positive (SLN ) or negative (SLN–) status.

The researchers report that 70.3 percent of patients (6,021 of 8,562) underwent SLN biopsy. There was a significant association observed between SLN positivity and reduced five-year disease-specific survival among matched patients who underwent SLN biopsy (47.1 percent SLN versus 75.5 percent SLN–). Even across matched T-stages, five-year disease-specific survival remained significantly different: T3b (54.2 percent SLN versus 64.8 percent SLN–), T4a (55.5 percent SLN versus 71.6 percent SLN–), and T4b (38.6 percent SLN versus 60.9 percent SLN–).

"For patients with clinical stage IIB/C cutaneous melanoma, SLN status provides essential prognostic information and is an important factor for collective decision-making regarding adjuvant therapy administration based on risk assessment," the authors write.

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