Prognostic signs in melanoma: state of the art

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ABSTRACT

Prognoses for melanoma patients are currently based on statistically confirmed parameters, above all the Breslow thickness and number of lymph node and/or distant metastases. However, metastases can develop even with ‘thin’ melanomas (< 0.7 mm), while survival has been recorded in patients with tumours classified as ‘thick’ (> 4 mm). This review of the literature examines the most recent advances in prognostic markers for melanoma (serological, immunohistochemical, histological, genetic and surgical). These markers offer interesting possibilities in terms of diagnostic certainty, identification of early growth phases and estimation of the tumour's potential for progression and metastasis. It is reasonable to assume that their combined use can provide useful information for formulating prognoses that are not only statistically valid but also individualized.

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