The role of surgery for patients with metastatic melanoma.
When deciding to perform a resection for metastatic melanoma one should first decide whether the intent of the procedure is curative or palliative. When the resection is palliative, the success of surgical treatment will depend on the presence of identifiable symptoms, the morbidity of the procedure, the course of the disease, and the ability to communicate the treatment goals among surgeon, patient, and family. When the resection is curative, survival will depend on the ability of the surgeon to select patients with a pattern of recurrence suggestive of less aggressive tumor biology. Factors generally found predictive of improved survival, and therefore reflective of tumor biology, include longer disease-free interval, fewer numbers of metastases, and the ability to obtain a complete resection. Resection of metastases in patients who recur within one-year, who present with multiple lesions, and who present with disease that cannot be completely resected, will not result in long-term survival.
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