Thick Melanoma in Elderly

Chang, C.K.; Jacobs, Ira A.; Theodosiou, Elena; Salti, George I.
November 2003
American Surgeon;Nov2003, Vol. 69 Issue 11, p988
Academic Journal
The objective of this analysis is to ascertain the natural history of elderly patients greater than 65 years of age with thick melanoma (T4) who were treated with surgery only. Although there are multiple data on elderly patients, there is not a systematic review of survival in elderly patients over 65 years, and with our analysis we tried to enlighten this field in view especially of the growing population of the elderly in the United States. We retrospectively evaluated 112 patients with thick (≥4 mm) melanoma aged 65 or greater. Mean age was 73 years. Mean follow-up was 36 months. The overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were 69 and 52 months, respectively. Univariate analysis predicted worse OS and DFS when patients have positive lymph nodes, high mitotic rate, and increasing thickness. By multivariate analysis, lymph node status was most predictive of OS and DFS. Lymph node status is the most important prognostic factor in elderly patients with thick melanoma. Our analysis has shown that elderly patients that received no adjuvant treatment did significantly worse than the historical controls. Patients with nodal metastases are candidates for adjuvant therapy. Those without nodal disease constitute a favorable patient group and thus have much better prognosis and may not need adjuvant therapy. However, they must be closely monitored or enrolled in randomized trials. Thus, treatment for melanoma patients older than 65 should be as aggressive as in younger patients, and these patients should not be denied adjuvant treatment based on their age only.


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