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Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Melanoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

The authors analyzed the effectiveness of radiotherapy after surgery in desmoplastic melanoma- a rare kind of skin cancer.  

Some background

Desmoplastic melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer in which the cancer cells are surrounded by fibrous tissues (eg; tissues that make up ligaments, tendons or nerves). Local recurrence (return of cancer to the original site) of this melanoma is higher than in other forms of melanomas. Determining the appropriate local therapy is important for the treatment of desmoplastic melanoma. Many studies have suggested that surgery with additional treatment with radiotherapy (directing a beam of radiation at the tumor site to kill cancer cells) improves control of disease progression.

However, a better understanding of the role of radiotherapy as an additional treatment in this rare melanoma is needed.

Methods & findings

The authors aimed to assess the role of radiotherapy after surgery in desmoplastic melanoma.

130 patients with desmoplastic melanoma were analyzed. The average follow-up time was 6.6 years.

For all patients, the cancer did not spread to other parts of the body from the original site. Out of 130 patients, 59 patients (45%) had surgery alone. 71 patients (55%) had surgery followed by radiotherapy. 62% had melanoma in the head and neck regions.

Overall, 69% of patients were still alive at 5 years following treatment. 53% were still alive at 10 years following treatment. Disease-specific survival (patients who did not die from the disease) was 84% at 5 years and 80% at 10 years. Of the 59 patients who received surgery alone, 24% had local recurrence. Of the 71 patients who received surgery and radiotherapy, 7% had local recurrence.

21% of patients who received both surgery and radiotherapy experienced treatment side-effects (delayed wound healing, non healing scalp wounds, bone damage, eye irritation). 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that surgery followed by radiotherapy significantly improved the local control of disease in desmoplastic melanoma patients.
Published By :


Date :

May 01, 2014

Original Title :

The role of adjuvant radiotherapy in the local management of desmoplastic melanoma.

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