Sentinel node biopsy status is strongly predictive of survival in cutaneous melanoma: Extended follow-up of Oxford patients from 1998 to 2014.
Thomson DR., Rughani MG., Kuo R., Cassell OCS.
INTRODUCTION: Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is widely used as a key investigatory tool for cutaneous melanoma, with results incorporated into the latest AJCC staging guidelines. We present the results of our extended follow-up of sentinel lymph node biopsy for melanoma over a sixteen-year period. METHODS: Data were collected prospectively from June 1998 to December 2014 from a single tertiary skin cancer referral centre. Chi-squared analysis was used to analyse patient demographics and primary tumour pathology. Survival analysis was conducted using Cox regression models and Kaplan-Meier survival curves. RESULTS: Over a sixteen-year period 1527 patients underwent SLNB in 1609 basins, with 2876 nodes harvested. 347 patients (23%) had a positive biopsy. The most common primary tumour sites for males was the back (32%); women had a significantly higher number of melanomas occurring on the lower and upper limbs (45% and 26% respectively) [all p 4.0 mm ten-year disease free survival was 52% for SLNB negative and 26% for SLNB positive patients. For Breslow thicknesses of 2.01-4 mm these values were 66% and 32% respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Sentinel lymph node biopsy status is strongly predictive of survival across all thicknesses of primary cutaneous melanoma.