Desmoplastic and neurotropic melanoma (DNMM) occasionally metastasizes to regional lymph nodes and extranodal sites. The value of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) has not been demonstrated clearly for patients with DNMM. The authors report on the utility of SLNB in the management of patients with DNMM.
The authors identified 33 patients with DNMM who were seen during a 5-year period in their institution who underwent lymphatic mapping and SLNB. Clinical and histopathologic data were reviewed.
Thirty-three patients with DNMM underwent SLNB (mean Breslow depth, 4.0 mm; median, 2.8 mm). There were 25 male patients and 8 female patients with a median age of 61 years (range, 31–86 years). Fifty-two percent of tumors presented in the head and neck region, and 24% were associated with lentigo maligna. Four of 33 patients (12%) without clinical evidence of metastatic disease who underwent SLNB had at least 1 positive sentinel lymph node. No additional positive lymph nodes were found in subsequent therapeutic regional lymphadenectomy in any of these four patients.
SLNB detected subclinical metastases of DNMM to regional lymph nodes. SLNB at the time of resection can provide useful information to guide early treatment and, coupled with lymphadenectomy in positive patients, may limit tumor spread and prevent recurrence at the draining lymph node basin. Cancer 2004. © 2003 American Cancer Society.