Adjuvant postoperative radiotherapy to the cervical lymph nodes in cutaneous melanoma: Is there any benefit for high-risk patients?

Marc D. Moncrieff, Richard Martin, Christopher J. O'Brien, Kerwin F. Shannon, Jonathan R. Clark, Kan Gao, William M. McCarthy, John F. Thompson

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31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The use of adjuvant radiotherapy after lymph node dissection for metastatic melanoma remains controversial. This study examined the effectiveness of adjuvant radiotherapy in controlling regional disease in high-risk patients. Methods: A total of 716 patients were identified from a large prospective database who underwent cervical lymph node surgery between 1990 and 2004. Patients with high-risk disease were offered radiotherapy (n = 129), and this group was compared with the group of patients who did not receive radiotherapy (n = 587) in the same period. Results: Radiotherapy did not improve regional control in patients who had metastatic melanoma of the cervical lymph nodes (P = .2). There were 10% fewer regional recurrences in patients with extracapsular spread who received adjuvant radiotherapy, although this was not statistically significant (P = .34). Adjuvant radiotherapy conferred no overall survival benefit to patients with nodal metastases (P = .39). There was a statistically significant trend for worse survival with increasing nodal tumor burden that remained unchanged with adjuvant radiotherapy. Conclusion: This large, nonrandomized retrospective study found no evidence to support the use of adjuvant radiotherapy for high-risk melanoma. A multicenter randomized, controlled trial investigating this important clinical dilemma is advocated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3022-3027
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Volume15
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

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