Impact of Gene Expression Profiling on Decision-Making in Clinically Node Negative Melanoma Patients after Surgical Staging

Darryl Schuitevoerder, Michael Heath, Robert W. Cook, Kyle R. Covington, Jeanine Fortino, Sancy Leachman, John Vetto

8 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: The surgeon's role in the follow-up of pathologic stage I and II melanoma patients has traditionally been minimal. Melanoma genetic expression profile (GEP) testing provides binary risk assessment (Class 1-low risk, Class 2-high risk), which can assist in predicting metastasis and formulating appropriate follow up. We sought to determine the impact of GEP results on the management of clinically node negative cutaneous melanoma patients staged with sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB).

METHODS: A retrospective review of prospectively gathered data consisting of patients seen from September 2015 - August 2016 was performed to determine whether GEP class influenced follow-up recommendations. Patients were stratified into four groups based on recommended follow-up plan: Dermatology alone, Surgical Oncology, Surgical Oncology with recommendation for adjuvant clinical trial, or Medical and Surgical Oncology.

RESULTS: Of ninety-one patients, 38 were pathologically stage I, 42 stage II, 10 stage III, and 1 stage IV. Combining all stages, GEP Class 1 patients were more likely to be followed by Dermatology alone and less like to be followed by Surgical Oncology with recommendation for adjuvant trial compared to Class 2 patients (P less than 0.001). Among stage 1 patients, Class 1 were more likely to follow up with Dermatology alone compared to Class 2 patients (82 vs. 0%; P less than 0.001). Among stage II patients, GEP Class 1 were more likely to follow up with Dermatology alone (21 vs 0%) and more Class 2 patients followed up with surgery and recommendations for adjuvant trial (36 vs 64%; P less than 0.05). There was no difference in follow up for stage III patients based on the GEP results (P=0.76).

CONCLUSION: GEP results were significantly associated with the management of stage I-II melanoma patients after staging with SLNB. For node negative patients, Class 2 results led to more aggressive follow up and management. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(2):196-199.


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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