Sentinel Node Status is the Most Important Prognostic Information for Clinical Stage IIB and IIC Melanoma Patients



Sentinel node biopsy (SNB) for melanoma patients has been questioned. We aimed to study high-risk stage II melanoma patients who underwent SNB to determine what the prognostic factors regarding recurrence and mortality were, and evaluate how relevant SNB status is in this scenario.


This was a retrospective analysis of clinical stage IIB/IIC melanoma patients who underwent SNB from 2000 to 2015 in a single institution. Prognostic factors related to distant recurrence-free survival (DRFS) and melanoma-specific survival (MSS) were assessed from multiple Cox regression. Relevant variables were used to create risk predictor nomograms for DRFS and MSS.


From 1213 SNB, 259 were performed for clinical stage IIB/IIC melanoma patients. SNB status was the most important variable for both endpoints. Patients with positive SNB presented median DRFS of 35.73 months (95% CI 21.38–50.08, SE 7.32) and median MSS of 66.4 months (95% CI 29.76–103.03, SE 18.69), meanwhile both median DRFS and MSS were not achieved for those with negative SNB (logrank < 0.0001). Both nomograms have been internally validated and presented adequate calibration (C-index was 0.734 for DRFS and 0.718 for MSS).


SNB status was the most important risk factor in our cohort of clinical stage IIB and IIC patients and, in conjunction with well-established primary tumor characteristics, should not be abandoned. Their use in prognosis for these patients remains extremely useful for daily practice.

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All authors participated in the conception, writing, and final revision of this manuscript. They all agree with the results and conclusions that have been presented.

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Correspondence to Eduardo Bertolli MD, PhD.

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Fonseca, I.B., Lindote, M.V.N., Monteiro, M.R. et al. Sentinel Node Status is the Most Important Prognostic Information for Clinical Stage IIB and IIC Melanoma Patients. Ann Surg Oncol 27, 4133–4140 (2020).

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