Regression in melanoma is significantly associated with a lower regional recurrence rate and better recurrence-free survival

Sarayu Subramanian, Gang Han, Natalie Olson, Stanley P. Leong, Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, Richard L. White, Jonathan S. Zager, Vernon K. Sondak, Jane L. Messina, Barbara Pockaj, Heidi E. Kosiorek, John Vetto, Graham Fowler, Schlomo Schneebaum, Dale Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: The prognostic significance of regression in predicting melanoma recurrences is unknown. We present a large multicenter study correlating regression with recurrence. Methods: The Sentinel Lymph Node Working Group database was queried from 1993 to 2018 for cases with regression data. Clinicopathologic factors were correlated with overall and first-site of recurrence and with recurrence-free survival (RFS). Results: There were 4790 patients and the median follow-up was 39.6 months. Regression and recurrences were seen in 1081 (22.6%) and 773 (16.1%) cases, respectively. First-site locoregional and distant recurrences were seen in 412 (8.6%) and 352 (7.3%) patients, respectively. Regression was seen in 15.8% and 24.7% of all cases with and without recurrences (p < 0.0001), respectively, while regression was seen in 14.3% and 17.9% of first-site locoregional and distant recurrent cases, respectively, compared with 23.3% and 22.9% of patients with regression and without first-site locoregional and distant recurrences, respectively (p = 0.29). On multivariable analysis, after controlling for age, gender, thickness, ulceration, lymphovascular invasion, and sentinel lymph node status, regression significantly predicted improved RFS (p = 0.004) and fewer first-site regional recurrences (p = 0.017). Conclusion: Our data suggest that regression is a favorable prognostic marker in melanoma and predicts significantly better RFS and decreased first-site regional recurrences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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