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 journalArticlepeer-review

51 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
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Melanoma
  • Prognosis
  • Sentinel lymph node metastatic size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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