How is stage III of melanoma treated?

Updated: Jun 28, 2021
  • Author: Jonathan B Heistein, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Wide local excision of the primary tumor with 2-cm margins remains first-line therapy. [1] No survival advantage is demonstrated with wider resection margins. Skin grafting or other tissue-transfer techniques may be necessary to close the defect. Perform regional lymph node dissection because a stage III melanoma represents nodal disease. If the nodal status is unknown, consider a sentinel lymph node biopsy to determine if the disease is stage I, II, or III. As in stage II disease, the treatment failure rate is higher with wide local excision alone in this group compared with stages 0 and I. Many clinical trials currently are exploring similar options as adjuvant therapy.


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