This study was undertaken in order to identify the prognostic factors for stage III malignant melanoma patients. In addition we compared the survival data of these patients with data from patients presenting with stage I and II disease who subsequently developed a regional nodal recurrence, in order to identify common prognostic factors and to compare the biological behaviour of the two groups. We retrospectively examined two groups of patients. The first consisted of 116 patients with stage III malignant melanoma and the second consisted of 57 patients with stage I and II malignant melanoma that were found to have regional lymph node metastases diagnosed at least 6 months after surgical treatment of their primary lesion. The age of the patients, the number of disease-involved lymph nodes, the site of the primary lesion and the presence or not of palpable lymph nodes proved to be significant prognostic factors of the first group. We also analysed the survival data of the second group and compared it with data from the stage III patients. The 5 year survival starting from the time after diagnosis of the primary lesion was 47.37% compared with 25.86% in stage III patients; however, this difference was not statistically significant. Patients who present with stage III malignant melanoma seem to have a more aggressive phenotype than stage I and II malignant melanoma patients who present with recurrent disease in their regional lymph nodes. Disease behaviour is dictated by the number of disease-involved lymph nodes, the site of the primary lesion and the type of surgical procedure performed (elective or therapeutic lymph node dissection).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research