Diagnosis and treatment of malignant melanoma of the foot

Richard J. Gray, Barbara A. Pockaj, Miriam L. Vega, Suzanne M. Connolly, David J. Dicaudo, Todd A. Kile, Edward W. Buchel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Patients diagnosed with melanoma of the foot have been reported to have a poor prognosis. We reviewed our experience at a tertiary-care medical clinic to determine the disease course in patients diagnosed with melanoma of the toot. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of 38 patients with a diagnosis of primary or locally recurrent melanoma of the foot treated between January, 1988, and July, 2004. The main outcome measures included methods of diagnosis, clinical and histopatliologic features, and patterns of recurrence. Results: The mean age at diagnosis was 61 years; most were women (58%) and Caucasian (95%). The average time to diagnosis was 17 months. Initial clinical diagnosis had been considered benign in 12 (32%). The median Breslow thickness was 1.75 mm, T1 lesions were the most common, and acral lentiginous melanoma accounted for 42%. Thirteen patients (34%) had ulcerated lesions. Sentinel lymph node biopsy specimens of 25 patients identified four (16%) with metastatic disease. Surgical complications occurred in 12 patients, usually after skin graft or soft-tissue flap reconstruction. Systemic recurrence developed in six patients, four of whom also had regional recurrence. Conclusions: Most patients were elderly Caucasian women and most presented with early-stage disease, but diagnosis can be difficult and a subgroup presented with thick melanomas. Reconstructive surgical procedures had a high rate of complications; however, overall functional outcomes were good. Stage of cancer at diagnosis was associated with systemic metastases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-705
Number of pages10
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Complication
  • Foot
  • Mapping
  • Melanoma
  • Sentinel Lymph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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