Size of sentinel node metastases predicts other nodal disease and survival in malignant melanoma

Nathan W. Pearlman*, Martin D. McCarter, Matthew Frank, Cheryl Hurtubis, Ryan P. Merkow, Wilbur A. Franklin, Rene Gonzalez, Karl Lewis, J. Brent Roaten, William A. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


Background: A positive sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is an indication for completion lymph node dissection (CLND) in malignant melanoma; however, most CLNDs are negative. We hypothesized SLN metastatic size of ≤2 mm would predict CLND status and prognosis. Methods: We evaluated 80 consecutive patients undergoing CLND for positive SLNs over a 10-year period. Incidence of positive nonsentinel nodes and survival were compared for patients with SLN metastases ≤2 mm and >2 mm. Results: Of 504 patients undergoing SLN biopsy, 49 patients had SLN deposits ≤2 mm and a 6% incidence of positive CLNDs. Five-year survival was 85%, essentially the same as negative SLN biopsies. In contrast, 31 had SLN metastases >2 mm, a 45% incidence of addition disease at CLND, and 5-year survival of 47% (P < .0001). Conclusion: An SLN metastatic cut point of 2 mm is an efficient predictor of CLND status and survival in malignant melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-881
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006



  • Melanoma
  • Prognosis
  • Sentinel lymph node metastatic size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this

Pearlman, N. W., McCarter, M. D., Frank, M., Hurtubis, C., Merkow, R. P., Franklin, W. A., ... Robinson, W. A. (2006). Size of sentinel node metastases predicts other nodal disease and survival in malignant melanoma. American Journal of Surgery, 192(6), 878-881.