The relatively recent availability of effective systemic therapies for metastatic melanoma necessitates reconsideration of current surveillance patterns. Evidence supporting surveillance guidelines for resected Stage II melanoma is lacking. Prior reports note routine imaging detects only 21% of recurrent disease. This study aims to define recurrence patterns for Stage II melanoma to inform future surveillance guidelines.
This is a retrospective study of patients with Stage II melanoma. We analyzed risk factors for recurrence and methods of recurrence detection. We also assessed survival. Yearly hazards of recurrence were visualized.
With a median follow-up of 4.9 years, 158 per 580 patients (27.2%) recurred. Overall, most recurrences were patient-detected (60.7%) or imaging-detected (27.3%). Routine imaging was important in detecting recurrence in patients with distant recurrences (adjusted rate 43.1% vs. 9.4% for local/in-transit; p = .04) and with Stage IIC melanoma (42.5% vs. 18.5% for IIA; p = .01). Male patients also self-detected recurrent disease less than females (52.1% vs. 76.8%; p < .01).
Routine imaging surveillance played a larger role in detecting recurrent disease for select groups in this cohort than noted in prior studies. In an era of effective systemic therapy, routine imaging should be considered for detection of asymptomatic relapse for select, high-risk patient groups.
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