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Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Melanoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

The authors analyzed the effectiveness of standard melanoma treatments in the management of acral melanoma (a type of skin cancer affecting specific parts of a body). 

Some background

Acral melanoma affects the skin of the limbs, ears, fingers or nails. The occurrence of acral melanoma is most common in people with darker skin. This melanoma is associated with a poor patient outcome. Due to inadequate patient follow-up, there is not much data available on the relapse of this melanoma. The standard treatments for acral melanoma are the same as that for nonacral melanoma. However, no study has so far compared the effectiveness of treatment guidelines in the management of acral melanoma with nonacral melanoma.

Further studies are needed in this regard to determine the appropriate treatment options for acral melanoma. 

Methods & findings

The authors aimed to compare the effectiveness of acral and nonacral melanoma treatments and their effect on patient outcome.

61 acral melanoma patients (group 1) and 183 nonacral melanoma patients (group 2) were included in this study. All patients had undergone surgery to remove their tumors. The median (midpoint) follow-up time for group 1 patients was 33 months. For group 2 patients, it was 58 months.

Patients in group 1 had a 2.58 times increased risk of dying from melanoma. The median time patients survived without the return of cancer following treatment was 47.1 months in group 1 and 213.5 months in group 2. 49% of patients in group 1 and 30% of patients in group 2 experienced cancer recurrence (return of cancer). Locoregional (limited to area around the original site) melanoma recurrence was nearly doubled in group 1 patients (39%) compared to group 2 patients (19%). When tumor thickness (how far the cancer reached deep into the skin) was less than 2 mm, cancer recurrence was more common in group 1 patients compared to group 2 patients.  

The bottom line

The authors concluded that there were differences in relapse and survival outcomes between acral and nonacral melanoma patients. They also indicated that acral melanoma patients may require more aggressive treatments compared to nonacral melanoma patients. 

What’s next?

If you have acral melanoma, talk to your doctor about more aggressive surgical treatments and longer follow-up. 

Published By :

Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

Date :

Dec 01, 2014

Original Title :

Analysis of recurrence patterns in acral versus nonacral melanoma: should histologic subtype influence treatment guidelines?

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