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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2013 June;148(3):299-305


language: English

Sentinel lymphnode biopsy or nodal observation in melanoma: study of an Italian series

Calista D. 1, Vitali P. 2, Arcangeli F. 1

1 Department of Dermatology, “M. Bufalini” Hospital, Cesena, Italy; 2 Department of Public Health, “M. Bufalini” Hospital, Cesena, Italy


Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate the disease-free time (DFT) and overall survival (OS) of patients with intermediate or high-risk cutaneous melanoma who were treated with conventional surgery alone, and to compare them with that of a second group of patients who were treated with surgery and SLN biopsy.
Methods: A retrospective, single-centre study was performed at the Department of Dermatology of the “M. Bufalini” Hospital, Cesena, Italy based on data collected between January 1990 and December 2007. A total of 757 consecutive patients with stage I-II melanoma were identified: the former group (control group), treated with conventional surgery, was composed of 224 patients; the latter, treated with surgery and SLN biopsy (SLN biopsy group), was formed of 529 patients.
Results: The 5-year disease free time (DFT) rate, estimated with Kaplan-Meyer, was 73.9% (95% CI: 67.5-79.2) in the control group, and 82.2% (95% CI: 78.6-85.3) in the SLN biopsy group. Although the DFT rate was significantly higher in the SLN group than in the control group in univariate analyses (P=0.004), this gain was lost in multivariate analysis (P=0.2). The 5-year overall survival (OS) rate was 88.4% (95% CI: 83.2-92.1) for the control group, and 87.9% (95% CI: 84.6-90.4) for the SLN biopsy group. Statistical comparison of specific OS was not statistically significant (P=0.93).
Conclusion: On the basis of our follow-up data, we found that patients who underwent SLN biopsy technique experienced a reduction in the proportion of lymph nodal relapse, but DFT and OS were statistically equivalent between the two groups.

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