Breslow thickness (BT) is the cornerstone of malignant melanoma staging. However, to our knowledge no-one has ever assessed the horizontal width of invasion, measured microscopically, as a prognostic feature. This was investigated as a prognostic feature in this study. A retrospective cohort of 1329 melanoma cases was collected from patients presenting to a UK teaching hospital from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2014. The main outcome was overall survival (OS). We found that width was associated with OS in multivariable analysis (hazard ratio=1.05, 95% confidence interval: 1.03-1.07, P<0.001) and was similarly significant for melanoma-specific survival and metastasis-free survival. Its presence rendered BT nonsignificant. The width was significantly associated with OS after adjustment for American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), version 8 clinical tumor stage (hazard ratio=1.05, 95% confidence interval: 1.03-1.07, P<0.001), and bootstrap validation showed only slight model optimism. Similar associations were seen for melanoma-specific survival and metastasis-free survival. However, the combination of invasive width and BT did not account for the outcome as well as another novel histologic feature, tumor area, which was measured using the calculated tumor area method. In conclusion, this study is the first investigation of a novel histologic feature, invasive melanoma width, and demonstrates its strong independent association with outcome.
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