Risk stratification of sentinel node–positive melanoma patients defines surgical management and adjuvant therapy treatment considerations

Daniëlle Verver, David van Klaveren, Alexander C.J. van Akkooi, Piotr Rutkowski, Barry W.E.M. Powell, Caroline Robert, Alessandro Testori, Barbara L. van Leeuwen, Astrid A.M. van der Veldt, Ulrich Keilholz, Alexander M.M. Eggermont, Cornelis Verhoef, Dirk J. Grünhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In light of the evolving landscape of adjuvant therapy in melanoma and the recently confirmed absent survival benefit of completion lymph node dissection (CLND), it becomes important to explore possible consequences of omitting CLND, and whether it is possible to adequately stratify positive sentinel node (SN) patients solely based on information retrieved from the melanoma up to the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). Methods: A retrospective cohort from nine European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Melanoma Group centres was used. Patients were staged based on SLNB and CLND result according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) criteria and stratified by ulceration and SN tumour burden. These were incorporated in Cox regression models. Predictive ability was assessed using Harrell's concordance index (c-index) and the Akaike information criterion (AIC). Results: In total, 1015 patients were eligible. CLND led to upstaging in N-category in 19% and in AJCC stage in 5–6%. The model incorporating only ulceration and SN tumour burden performed equally well as the model incorporating substages after CLND. The model incorporating substages based on SLNB had the lowest predictive ability. Stratifying by ulceration and SN tumour burden resulted in four positive SN groups from which low-, intermediate- and high-risk prognostic classes could be derived. Conclusions: Adequate stratification of positive SN patients was possible based on ulceration and SN tumour burden category. The identification of low-, intermediate- and high-risk patients could guide adjuvant therapy in clinical practice. Omitting CLND seems to have little consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Completion lymph node dissection
  • Melanoma
  • Prognosis
  • Staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk stratification of sentinel node–positive melanoma patients defines surgical management and adjuvant therapy treatment considerations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this