The importance of ulceration of cutaneous melanoma of the head and neck: A comparison of ear (pinna) and nonear sites

Authors

  • Adam C. Augenstein MD,

    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.
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  • Zachary J. Capello BS,

    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.
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  • Jarrod A. Little MD,

    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.
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  • Kelly M. McMasters MD, PhD,

    1. Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.
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  • Jeffrey M. Bumpous MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.
    • Division of Otolaryngology, Brown Cancer Center 3rd Floor, 529 South Jackson Street, Louisville, KY 40202
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  • Poster presentation at the Combined Otolaryngology Society Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A., April 28–May 2, 2010.

  • The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

To compare clinicopathologic and prognostic factors associated with ear melanomas and nonear melanomas of the head and neck (H&N).

Study Design:

Post hoc analysis of the database from a multi-institutional, prospective, randomized study.

Methods:

Clinicopathologic factors were assessed and correlated with survival and recurrence. Univariate and multivariate analysis of prognostic factors affecting disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were performed.

Results:

Of 405 patients with H&N melanomas ≥1.0 mm Breslow thickness, 59 patients had melanomas of the ear. Most were Caucasian (96.6%) males (79.7%) with a mean age of 52 years. The mean Breslow thickness was 2.5 mm; 34.5% had signs of ulceration. Sentinel lymph node (SLN) positivity was seen in 7.1%. The incidence of locoregional and distant recurrence were similar. OS for ear melanoma was significantly impacted by ulceration status (P = .013), whereas both ulceration and SLN positivity predicted survival in nonear melanoma (P < .001 and P = .015, respectively). Thicker melanomas in the nonear group demonstrated significantly decreased DFS, whereas other factors in both groups lost their predictive value (P = .035).

Conclusions:

In the Sunbelt Melanoma Trial, ulceration was the strongest predictor of overall survival in melanoma of the ear. Ulceration and SLN status correlated with poorer OS in nonear melanoma of the H&N, whereas increasing depth correlated with poorer DFS in those same patients. Recurrence and survival were not impacted by anatomic site, but the prognostic significance of ulceration, thickness, and SLN status in the H&N may vary with the site of the melanoma. Laryngoscope, 2012

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