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Authors Faries MB, Thompson JF, Cochran AJ, Andtbacka RH, Mozzillo N, Zager JS, Jahkola T, Bowles TL, Testori A, Beitsch PD, Hoekstra HJ, Moncrieff M, Ingvar C, Wouters MWJM, Sabel MS, Levine EA, Agnese D, Henderson M, Dummer R, Rossi CR, Neves RI, Trocha SD, Wright F, Byrd DR, Matter M, Hsueh E, MacKenzie-Ross A, Johnson DB, Terheyden P, Berger AC, Huston TL, Wayne JD, Smithers BM, Neuman HB, Schneebaum S, Gershenwald JE, Ariyan CE, Desai DC, Jacobs L, McMasters KM, Gesierich A, Hersey P, Bines SD, Kane JM, Barth RJ, McKinnon G, Farma JM, Schultz E, Vidal-Sicart S, Hoefer RA, Lewis JM, Scheri R, Kelley MC, Nieweg OE, Noyes RD, Hoon DSB, Wang HJ, Elashoff DA, Elashoff RM
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Journal N. Engl. J. Med. Volume: 376 Issue: 23 Pages: 2211-2222
Publish Date 2017 06 08
PubMed ID 28591523
PMC ID 5548388

Sentinel-lymph-node biopsy is associated with increased melanoma-specific survival (i.e., survival until death from melanoma) among patients with node-positive intermediate-thickness melanomas (1.2 to 3.5 mm). The value of completion lymph-node dissection for patients with sentinel-node metastases is not clear.In an international trial, we randomly assigned patients with sentinel-node metastases detected by means of standard pathological assessment or a multimarker molecular assay to immediate completion lymph-node dissection (dissection group) or nodal observation with ultrasonography (observation group). The primary end point was melanoma-specific survival. Secondary end points included disease-free survival and the cumulative rate of nonsentinel-node metastasis.Immediate completion lymph-node dissection was not associated with increased melanoma-specific survival among 1934 patients with data that could be evaluated in an intention-to-treat analysis or among 1755 patients in the per-protocol analysis. In the per-protocol analysis, the mean (±SE) 3-year rate of melanoma-specific survival was similar in the dissection group and the observation group (86±1.3% and 86±1.2%, respectively; P=0.42 by the log-rank test) at a median follow-up of 43 months. The rate of disease-free survival was slightly higher in the dissection group than in the observation group (68±1.7% and 63±1.7%, respectively; P=0.05 by the log-rank test) at 3 years, based on an increased rate of disease control in the regional nodes at 3 years (92±1.0% vs. 77±1.5%; P<0.001 by the log-rank test); these results must be interpreted with caution. Nonsentinel-node metastases, identified in 11.5% of the patients in the dissection group, were a strong, independent prognostic factor for recurrence (hazard ratio, 1.78; P=0.005). Lymphedema was observed in 24.1% of the patients in the dissection group and in 6.3% of those in the observation group.Immediate completion lymph-node dissection increased the rate of regional disease control and provided prognostic information but did not increase melanoma-specific survival among patients with melanoma and sentinel-node metastases. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; MSLT-II number, NCT00297895 .).

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