Background. Controversy remains regarding the benefits of sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy for predicting survival in cutaneous melanoma of the head and neck (CMHN). Methods. We analyzed the factors associated with the recurrence and survival of CMHN patients treated in our institution. Results. One hundred thirteen patients underwent SLN biopsy for CMHN in a 12-year period. SLN identification was successful in 96%, with a median of 3 SLNs per patient. Positive-SLNs were identified in 21%. With a median follow-up of 34 months, 28% recurred. Disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 66%and 78%in patients with SLN-negative, and 39% and 62% in SLN-positive disease. In multivariate analysis, greater Breslow-thickness was associated with decreased DFS rate (HR 2.07, CI 1.04-4.09), and age >60 years (HR 3.53, CI 1.32-9.4) with lower 5-year OS rate. Conclusion. Primary tumor thickness and age were associated with decreased survival, whereas SLN status showed a trend for prognostic significance in CMHN.
- Sentinel node
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