Performance of a 31-gene expression profile test in cutaneous melanomas of the head and neck

Brian R. Gastman*, Jonathan S. Zager, Jane L. Messina, Robert W. Cook, Kyle R. Covington, Brooke Middlebrook, Pedram Gerami, Jeffrey D. Wayne, Sancy Leachman, John T. Vetto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: We report the performance of a gene expression profile test to classify the recurrence risk of cutaneous melanoma tumors of the head and neck as low-risk Class 1 or high-risk Class 2. Methods: Of note, 157 primary head and neck cutaneous melanoma tumors were identified. Survival analyses were performed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox methods. Results: Gene expression profile class and node status stratified tumors into significantly different 5-year survival groups by Kaplan-Meier method (P <.0001 for all end points), and both were independent predictors of recurrence in multivariate analysis. Overall, 74% of distant metastases and 88% of melanoma-specific deaths had Class 2 risk. Conclusion: The gene expression profile test identifies cases at increased risk for metastasis and death independent of a clinically or pathologically negative nodal status, suggesting that incorporation of this molecular tool could improve clinical management of patients with head and neck cutaneous melanoma, especially in those with a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-879
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • cutaneous melanoma
  • gene expression profiling
  • metastasis
  • prognosis
  • staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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