Analysis of Recurrence Patterns in Acral Versus Nonacral Melanoma: Should Histologic Subtype Influence Treatment Guidelines?

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  • a From the Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group; and Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, and Departments of Medicine and Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York.
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Current surgical treatment of primary melanoma is uniform for all histosubtypes, although certain types of melanoma, such as acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), have a worse prognosis. No study has explored the effectiveness of standard melanoma treatment guidelines for managing ALM compared with nonacral melanoma (NAM). Study subjects were identified from a prospectively enrolled database of patients with primary melanoma at New York University. Patients with ALM were matched to those with NAM (1:3) by gender and melanoma stage, including substage (ALM, 61; NAM, 183). All patients received standard-of-care treatment. Recurrence and survival outcomes in both cohorts were compared. ALM histologic subtype was an independent negative predictor of recurrence-free survival (hazard ratio [HR], 2.24; P=.001) and melanoma-specific survival (HR, 2.58; P=.001) compared with NAM. Recurrence was significantly more common in patients with ALM than in those with NAM (49% vs 30%; P=.007). For tumors less than 2 mm in thickness, a significantly higher recurrence rate was seen with ALM versus NAM (P=.048). No significant difference was seen in recurrence for tumors greater than 2 mm (P=.12). Notably, the rate of locoregional recurrence was nearly double for ALM compared with NAM (P=.001). The data presented herein reveal a high rate of locoregional failure in ALM compared with NAM when controlling for AJCC stage. These results raise the question of whether ALM may require more aggressive surgical treatment than nonacral cutaneous melanomas of equal thickness, particularly in tumors less than 2 mm thick. Larger multicenter trials are necessary for further conclusions.

Correspondence: Jennifer A. Stein, MD, PhD, New York University School of Medicine, 530 First Ave, Skirball 7R, New York, NY 10016. E-mail: Jennifer.Stein@nyumc.org
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