Late recurrence of malignant melanoma. Analysis of 168 patients.
Analysis of 7104 patients with melanoma seen at Duke University identified 168 who experienced their first recurrence 10 or more years after diagnosis, for an incidence of 2.4%. This included patients with all stages of disease. There was no sex, age, or primary site predominance. The mean disease-free interval for cutaneous melanomas was 14.3 years versus 22.3 years for ocular primary melanomas. The prognosis following relapse was related to the site of recurrence. Survival after local or regional node recurrence was often prolonged; survival after distant metastases was usually limited. Patients with ocular primaries had the highest incidence of distant metastases, and the shortest subsequent survival. An additional 483 patients were identified who survived 10 or more years without evidence of recurrence; of these 651 patients with long disease-free intervals, 25% (168 of 651) developed recurrent disease. This demonstrates that a 10-year disease-free interval cannot be considered a cure, and emphasizes the importance of continued annual follow-up.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)