Recurrence of Melanoma After a Negative Sentinel Node Biopsy: Predictors and Impact of Recurrence Site on Survival. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Factors that predict melanoma recurrence after a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) are not well-defined. We evaluated melanoma recurrence patterns, factors prognostic for recurrence, and the impact of recurrence on outcomes after a negative SLNB. METHODS: The Sentinel Lymph Node Working Group database was evaluated from 1996 to 2016 for negative SLNB melanoma patients. Clinicopathologic characteristics were correlated with recurrence, overall survival (OS), and melanoma-specific survival (MSS). RESULTS: Median follow-up was 32.1months. Recurrences developed in 558 of 5351 negative SLN patients (10.4%). First-site of recurrence included a local or in-transit recurrence (LITR) in 221 cases (4.1%), nodal recurrence (NR) in 109 cases (2%), and distant recurrence (DR) in 220 cases (4.1%). On multivariable analysis, age, thickness, head/neck or lower extremity primary, and microsatellitosis significantly predicted for an LITR as first-site. Having an LITR as first-site significantly predicted for a subsequent NR and DR, and significantly predicted for worse OS and MSS. Furthermore, thickness and head/neck or lower extremity primary significantly predicted for an NR as first-site, while a prior LITR significantly predicted for a subsequent NR. Factors significantly predictive for a DR included thickness, head/neck or trunk primary, ulceration, and lymphovascular invasion. Patients with any type of locoregional recurrence were at higher risk for a DR. CONCLUSIONS: Recurrences occur in 10.4% of negative SLN patients, with LITR and DR being the most common types. Importantly, having an LITR significantly predicts for a subsequent NR and DR, and is prognostic for worse survival after a negative SLNB.

published proceedings

  • Ann Surg Oncol

altmetric score

  • 17.45

author list (cited authors)

  • Thomas, D. C., Han, G., Leong, S. P., Kashani-Sabet, M., Vetto, J., Pockaj, B., ... Han, D.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Thomas, Daniel C||Han, Gang||Leong, Stanley P||Kashani-Sabet, Mohammed||Vetto, John||Pockaj, Barbara||White, Richard L||Faries, Mark B||Schneebaum, Schlomo||Mozzillo, Nicola||Charney, Kim J||Sondak, Vernon K||Messina, Jane L||Zager, Jonathan S||Han, Dale

publication date

  • July 2019