Local Melanoma Recurrence: A Clarification of Terminology


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Gary S. Rogers, MD, 750 Washington Street, NEMC 114, Boston, MA 02111 or e-mail: grogers@tufts-nemc.org.


Background. The current medical literature contains multiple different meanings for the term “local melanoma recurrence.” Confusion regarding locally persistent and locally metastatic disease makes interpretation and analysis of previously published reports difficult if not impossible.

Objective. The objective was to present a more precise definition of local melanoma recurrence.

Methods. A case is reported and the literature is reviewed.

Conclusion. Owing to the myriad of different definitions that exist in the medical literature, the term “local melanoma recurrence” is ambiguous and at times misleading. Melanoma that recurs locally from persistence of tumor at the resection margins has a vastly different prognosis than recurrence developing from local (satellite) metastases adjacent to the surgical resection site. We propose the use of the terms “persistent melanoma” and “local metastasis” as more precise and predictive of a patient's prognosis.