Article

Prognostic significance of isolated HMB45 or Melan A positive cells in Melanoma sentinel lymph nodes.

Department of Dermatology, Skin Cancer Center Hannover, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
American Journal of Surgical Pathology (Impact Factor: 4.59). 09/2007; 31(8):1175-80. DOI: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e3180341ebc
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The detection of micrometastases (defined as groups of malignant cells) in the sentinel lymph node (SLN) is an important prognostic tool in melanoma. The use of immunohistochemistry with melanocytic markers such as HMB45 and Melan A increases the detection rate of micrometastases but there are also cases with isolated immunohistochemically positive cells (IPC). To determine the prognostic significance of isolated HMB45 and/or Melan A positive cells in melanoma SLN, we compared the clinical course of 47 patients with IPC to 308 patients with negative SLN and to 122 patients with micrometastases. The mean follow-up was 38.1 months. By Kaplan-Meier analyses, relapse free survival and overall survival of patients with IPC were similar to SLN negative patients, whereas patients with micrometastases had a significantly worse relapse free survival and overall survival. In the 47 patients with IPC, 6 relapses (12.8%) and 3 melanoma-related death (6.4%) occurred, in the SLN negative patients 36 relapses (11.7%) and 17 melanoma-related deaths (5.5%), in the patients with micrometastases 46 relapses (37.7%) and 29 melanoma-related deaths (23.8%). Prognosis of patients with IPC in SLN did not correlate with type of positive staining (HMB45, Melan A, or both), capsular involvement, number of cells, presence of cytologic atypias of IPC, or tumor penetrative depth. In conclusion, with short-term follow-up IPC in melanoma SLN are without prognostic significance.

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