Sentinel node status predicts survival in thick melanomas: the Oxford perspective.
Rughani MG., Swan MC., Adams TS., Marshall A., Asher R., Cassell OC., Middleton MR.
AIMS: To determine the prognostic value of SLNB in patients with thick melanoma in terms of overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS). METHODS: 136 patients with primary tumours (Breslow thickness ≥ 4.0 mm) underwent SLNB. OS and RFS were calculated and a multivariate Cox regression model used to determine the important prognostic factors for predicting OS and RFS. RESULTS: Median Breslow thickness was 5.5 mm and 60% were ulcerated. Median follow up was 4 years (95% CI = 4-5) with 54 patients having died at the time of analysis. 5-year OS for SLNB positive patients was 32%, compared to 78% for negative patients. The significant predictors of poorer OS were increasing age (p = 0.03), increasing Breslow thickness (p = 0.03) and SLNB positivity (p < 0.0001). 5 year RFS was significantly worse in the SLNB positive population compared to the negative patients (p < 0.0001); 27% versus 66% respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a thick melanoma and a positive SLNB have a significantly worse RFS and OS compared to those with a negative SLNB. Over three-quarters of patients with a negative SLNB survived five years. These findings have implications for the subpopulations included in adjuvant therapy trials and we advocate SLNB be recommended in patients with thick melanomas.