In a nutshell
This study investigated if sentinel lymph node (SLN) status was linked to Breslow thickness in understanding the prognosis of melanoma (a type of skin cancer). The study concluded that SLN status was not linked to Breslow thickness (BT) for melanoma prognosis.
Sentinel lymph nodes are glands of immune tissue where cancer first spreads. They are often removed and examined (biopsy) for cancer spread in conditions like melanoma. Breslow thickness (BT) is a measure of how deep a melanoma reaches into the skin layers. It is important to research if there is a link between these tests in the prognosis of melanoma.
Methods & findings
This study analysed data and records already collected from 896 patients who underwent SLN biopsy for melanoma on the skin. SLN status and Breslow thickness of patients were studied. Survival time was measured from date of the first biopsy to either date of death or date of last patient contact. Overall survival (OS) after 5-years was also researched.
In patients with a BT of 1mm or less, the OS was 90.3%. In this group, the OS was 85.7% in SLN-positive patients and 90.3% SLN-negative patients. In patients with a BT of between 1.01mm and 2mm, OS was 87.2%. In this group, OS was 82% for SLN positive patients and 87% for SLN negative patients. For patients with a BT of between 2.01 and 4mm, the OS was 76.5%. In the same group, OS was 68.9% for SLN-positiive patients and 79.5% for SLN negative patients. For patients with a BT of 4.01 or greater, the OS rate was 76.5%. In this group, OS was 68.9% for SLN-positive patients and 79.5% for SLN-negative patients.
Patients with a positive SLN status tended to have thicker tumors. 7.7% of patients with BT of 1mm or less, had a positive SLN status. Those with a tumor BT of 4.01 mm or more, 47% had positive SLN status. This study did not find a statistically significant difference in survival between SLN-positive and SLN-negative patients.
The bottom line
The results of this study indicated that SLN status was not related to BT in the prognosis of melanoma.
The fine print
This study analysed data already collected (retrospective) and is only from one research centre which may affect results. The study included patients who may or may not have received additional treatment for their melanoma, which may have affected survival and results of the study.
Published By :
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Jan 30, 2018