The following is a summary of “Sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with clinical stage IIB/C cutaneous melanoma: A national cohort study,” published in the October 01, 2022 issue of Dermatology by Straker III, et al.

Some have questioned the use of sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in the clinical stage IIB/C illness in light of the approval of adjuvant anti-programmed cell death protein 1 treatment for pathologic stage IIB/C cutaneous melanoma. Therefore, SLN staging’s predictive impact on disease-specific survival (DSS) for clinical stage IIB/C primary cutaneous melanoma during the pre-immunotherapy period was examined by the researchers.

Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, a retrospective cohort analysis was carried out on individuals who underwent excision of clinical stage IIB/C cutaneous melanoma (2004-2011). Propensity matching was used to compare patients who had SLN biopsy with those who did not, and among those who did, matched patients were further categorized by SLN status (SLN positive [SLN+] or SLN negative [SLN-]). 6,021 patients (70.3%) of the 8,562 assessed patients received an SLN biopsy. When comparable patients had SLN biopsies, those who tested positive for SLN had substantially lower 5-year DSS (47.1% SLN+ vs. 75.5% SLN-; P <.001). With respect to matched T-stages, the five-year DSS remained substantially different at T3b (54.2% SLN+ vs. 64.8% SLN-; P =.004), T4a (55.5% SLN+ vs. 71.6% SLN-; P =.001), and T4b (38.6% SLN+ vs. 60.9% SLN-; P< .001).

The SLN status offered critical prognostic information for individuals with cutaneous melanoma at clinical stage IIB/C.