Susan M Swetter

Moncrief Cancer Institute, Fort Worth, Texas, United States

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Publications (107)472.51 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The Journal of Investigative Dermatology publishes basic and clinical research in cutaneous biology and skin disease.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 08/2015; DOI:10.1038/jid.2015.325 · 7.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Primary cilia are ubiquitously present cell surface organelles with essential functions in cellular proliferation, differentiation, and development. We have previously demonstrated that cilia in melanoma in situ, invasive melanoma, and metastatic melanoma are nearly completely lost, whereas benign nevi are ciliated (1). Dysplastic nevi (DN) have a wide range of histopathologic features from mild (low-grade) to severe (high-grade) cytologic atypia and represent a key clinical and histopathologic marker for melanomagenesis (2). We sought to identify whether cilia are retained in these melanocytic lesions and whether increasing degree of dysplasia correlates with loss of ciliation. We measured the percentage of ciliated melanocytes (ciliation index) in DN with mild (n = 9) and severe dysplasia (n = 10). We identified the primary cilium and basal bodies by immunofluorescence staining of sections with acetylated alpha-Tubulin and gamma-Tubulin, respectively. Our results demonstrated a significant decrease in the ciliation index from mildly dysplastic (55%) to severely dysplastic nevi (14%) (p = 0.005). These data support the hypothesis that primary cilium loss may play a role in the underlying biology of severely DN. The ciliation index is novel quantitative tool that may increase the reproducibility in grading severity of dysplasia for diagnostic and clinical management of melanocytic neoplasms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Cutaneous Pathology 08/2015; DOI:10.1111/cup.12612 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Topical fluorouracil was demonstrated to be effective in reducing the number of actinic keratoses (AKs) for up to 6 months, but no randomized trials studied its long-term efficacy. To evaluate the long-term efficacy of a single course of fluorouracil cream, 5%, for AK treatment. The Veterans Affairs Keratinocyte Carcinoma Chemoprevention (VAKCC) trial was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial with patients from dermatology clinics at 12 VA medical centers recruited from 2009 to 2011 and followed up until 2013. Our study population comprised 932 veterans with 2 or more keratinocyte carcinomas in the 5 years prior to enrollment. The mean follow-up duration was 2.6 years in both treatment and control groups. Participants applied either topical fluorouracil cream, 5% (n = 468), or vehicle control cream (n = 464) to the face and ears twice daily for up to 4 weeks. This study reports on AK counts and treatments, which were secondary outcomes of the VAKCC trial. Actinic keratoses on the face and ears were counted by study dermatologists at enrollment and at study visits every 6 months. The number of spot treatments for AKs on the face and ears at semiannual study visits and in between study visits was recorded. The number of AKs on the face and ears per participant was not different between the fluorouracil and control groups at randomization (11.1 vs 10.6, P > .10). After randomization, the fluorouracil group had fewer AKs compared with the control group at 6 months (3.0 vs 8.1, P < .001) and for the overall study duration (P < .001). The fluorouracil group also had higher complete AK clearance rates (38% vs 17% at 6 months) and fewer spot treatments at 6-month intervals, at study visits, and in between study visits during the trial (P < .01 for all). The fluorouracil group took longer to require the first spot AK treatment (6.2 months) compared with the control group (6.0 months) (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.60-0.79). The number of hypertrophic AKs was not different between the 2 groups overall (P = .60), although there were fewer hypertrophic AKs in the fluorouracil group at 6 months (0.23 vs 0.41) (P = .05). Our results indicate that a single course of fluorouracil cream, 5%, effectively reduces AK counts and the need for spot treatments for longer than 2 years. Identifier:NCT00847912.
    05/2015; 151(9). DOI:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.0502
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    ABSTRACT: Background Aberrant lymphatic drainage is believed to contribute to the high recurrence rate of head and neck melanomas. This study aimed to identify the clinical significance of unexpected lymphatic drainage patterns. Methods A single institution retrospective analysis was performed of middle-aged and older males (mean age 66.2 years, range 41-87 years) who underwent successful lymphoscintigraphy with sentinel node (SLN) biopsy from 1997 through 2012. Node status, distribution, and recurrence were assessed comparing patients with expected and unexpected drainage patterns. Results Sixty-six patients were identified with 55.8 months median follow-up (range 5.6-206.1 months). Unexpected SLN drainage was associated with multiple basin drainage (p < 0.01) and greater recurrence after negative SLN biopsy (p = 0.03). Both groups had similar anatomic distribution, SLN sampling, histopathologic characteristics, follow-up, and survival. Conclusion Lymphatic drainage differing from expected patterns is associated with greater recurrence after negative SLN biopsy in middle-aged and older males. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Head & Neck 04/2015; DOI:10.1002/hed.24094 · 2.64 Impact Factor
  • Alan C Geller · Susan M Swetter · Martin A Weinstock
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    ABSTRACT: Thin fatal melanomas are a relatively new clinical and public health concern, representing an estimated 20% of melanoma deaths. Understanding this phenomenon will require a multi-pronged approach, including in-depth investigation of its behavioral and biological underpinnings. As we proceed with relevant studies, the benefits in lives saved will grow via early detection.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 04/2015; 135(4):947-9. DOI:10.1038/jid.2014.534 · 7.22 Impact Factor
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    Susan M Swetter · Frank W Chen · David D Kim · Barbara M Egbert
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    ABSTRACT: Surgical resection of lentigo maligna (LM) is complicated by noncontiguous, subclinical extension and actinic melanocytic hyperplasia in sun-damaged skin of older individuals. We sought to determine the long-term effectiveness of imiquimod as primary or adjuvant therapy for LM. Patients were retrospectively identified from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2013, with LM, early/evolving LM, and LM melanoma who had used topical imiquimod 5% cream for either primary therapy after diagnostic biopsy, or adjuvant therapy after narrow-margin surgical resection or complete clinical but not histologic resection of LM. Follow-up occurred through December 31, 2014. In all, 63 cases were identified in 61 patients, mean (SD) age 71.1 (12.4) years; 58 were analyzed for local recurrence. Imiquimod was used as primary therapy in 22 of 63 (34.9%) and adjuvant therapy in 41 of 63 (65.1%) for mean duration of 11.7 (range 2-60) weeks. Fifty cases (86.2%) demonstrated clinical clearance at mean (SD) follow-up of 42.1 (27.4) months: 72.7% primary and 94.4% adjuvant at 39.7 (23.9) and 43.1 (28.9) months, respectively. Retrospective cohort study and lack of standardized imiquimod application are limitations. Imiquimod cream appears to be a viable option for primary or adjuvant treatment of LM in older patients who are poor surgical candidates. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 03/2015; 116(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.02.008 · 4.45 Impact Factor
  • S M Swetter
    British Journal of Dermatology 03/2015; 172(3):559-60. DOI:10.1111/bjd.13655 · 4.28 Impact Factor
  • Susan M Swetter · Alan C Geller
    Nature 11/2014; 515(7527):S117. DOI:10.1038/515S117a · 41.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The management of clinically atypical nevi/dysplastic nevi (CAN/DN) is controversial, with few data to guide the process. Management recommendations for DN with positive histologic margins were developed by the Delphi method to achieve consensus among members of the Pigmented Lesion Subcommittee (PLS) of the Melanoma Prevention Working Group (MPWG) after reviewing the current evidence. To outline key issues related to the management of CAN/DN: (1) biopsies of CAN and how positive margins arise, (2) whether incompletely excised DN evolve into melanoma, (3) current data on the outcomes of DN with positive histologic margins, (4) consensus recommendations, and (5) a proposal for future studies, including a large-scale study to help guide the management of DN with positive margins. The literature, including recent studies examining management and outcomes of DN with positive margins between 2009 to 2014, was reviewed. A consensus statement by the PLS of the MPWG following review of the literature, group discussions, and a structured Delphi method consensus. This consensus statement reviews the complexities of management of CAN/DN. A review of the literature and 2 rounds of a structured Delphi consensus resulted in the following recommendations: (1) mildly and moderately DN with clear margins do not need to be reexcised, (2) mildly DN biopsied with positive histologic margins without clinical residual pigmentation may be safely observed rather than reexcised, and (3) observation may be a reasonable option for management of moderately DN with positive histologic margins without clinically apparent residual pigmentation; however, more data are needed to make definitive recommendations in this clinical scenario.
    JAMA Dermatology 11/2014; 151(2). DOI:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.2694 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    11/2014; 2(Suppl 3):P75-P75. DOI:10.1186/2051-1426-2-S3-P75
  • Robert G Walton · Jinah Kim · Cruz Velasco · Susan M Swetter
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    ABSTRACT: Measurement of tumor volume may be a helpful adjunct to established prognostic factors in cutaneous melanoma, including Breslow depth, presence or absence of ulceration, mitotic index, lymphovascular invasion, and microsatellites. This report expands on the theory that a tumor volume cutoff point of 250 mm³ as measured by surface area of the lesion (ie, longest vertical and horizontal measurements either based on clinical or gross pathological assessment) multiplied by the Breslow depth could serve as a potentially relevant predictor of sentinel lymph node (SLN) metastasis in both thin and thick invasive cutaneous melanomas, which prompted investigation of a larger sample size using the pathology database at our institution.
    Cutis; cutaneous medicine for the practitioner 11/2014; 94(5):226-30. · 0.72 Impact Factor
  • Jonathan E Mayer · Susan M Swetter · Teresa Fu · Alan C Geller
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    ABSTRACT: While most cancers have shown both decreased incidence and mortality over the past several decades, the incidence of melanoma has continued to grow, and mortality has only recently stabilized in the United States and in many other countries. Certain populations, such as men >60 years of age and lower socioeconomic status groups, face a greater burden from disease. For any given stage and across all ages, men have shown worse melanoma survival than women, and low socioeconomic status groups have increased levels of mortality. Novel risk factors can help identify populations at greatest risk for melanoma and can aid in targeted early detection. Risk assessment tools have been created to identify high-risk patients based on various factors, and these tools can reduce the number of patients needed to screen for melanoma detection. Diagnostic techniques, such as dermatoscopy and total body photography, and new technologies, such as multispectral imaging, may increase the accuracy and reliability of early melanoma detection.
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 10/2014; 71(4):599.e1-599.e12. DOI:10.1016/j.jaad.2014.05.046 · 4.45 Impact Factor
  • Jonathan E Mayer · Susan M Swetter · Teresa Fu · Alan C Geller
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    ABSTRACT: New evidence has accumulated over the past several years that supports improved melanoma outcomes associated with both clinician and patient screening. Population-based and workplace studies conducted in Australia and the Unites States, respectively, have shown decreases in the incidence of thick melanoma and overall melanoma mortality, and a year-long statewide screening program in Germany has shown a nearly 50% reduction in mortality 5 years after the screening ended. Current melanoma screening guidelines in the United States are inconsistent among various organizations, and therefore rates of both physician and patient skin examinations are low. As policymaking organizations update national screening recommendations in the United States, the latest research reviewed in part II of this continuing medical education article should be considered to establish the most effective recommendations. Patient and provider education will be necessary to ensure that appropriate patients receive recommended screening.
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 10/2014; 71(4):611.e1-611.e10. DOI:10.1016/j.jaad.2014.05.045 · 4.45 Impact Factor
  • Frank W Chen · Diane Tseng · Sunil Reddy · Adil I Daud · Susan M Swetter
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    ABSTRACT: Importance Eruptive melanocytic nevi (EMN) are characterized by the sudden onset of numerous melanocytic nevi and have been traditionally described in the setting of immunosuppression. Selective BRAF inhibitors such as vemurafenib cause multiple cutaneous adverse effects, including the formation of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, as well as EMN. We describe the first reported case, to our knowledge, of involution of BRAF inhibitor–induced EMN following the concomitant addition of a MEK inhibitor, cobimetinib.Observations A woman in her 20s with a history of metastatic melanoma developed EMN while receiving therapy with vemurafenib, a selective BRAF inhibitor. After disease progression, the patient was placed on a clinical trial that combined vemurafenib with a MEK inhibitor, cobimetinib. Within months, we noted clinical involution of many of her EMN. In addition, numerous preexisting nevi were noted to fade in color on the dual regimen. Over a year after initiating this combination therapy, most of the patient’s EMN were no longer clinically evident.Conclusions and Relevance Our case report describing the involution of EMN supports data from previous clinical trials indicating that combination BRAF and MEK inhibition may reduce cutaneous proliferative effects that arise on BRAF inhibitor monotherapy. Further studies are necessary to characterize the biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon.
    JAMA Dermatology 08/2014; 150(11). DOI:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.838 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Evidence for the effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) risk is inconsistent. We prospectively examined whether regular, inconsistent, or no/low-use of NSAIDs is associated with lower NMSC risk among 54,728 postmenopausal Caucasian women in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study enrolled between 1993 and 1998. Methods: Logistic regression models were used to assess odds of NMSC after adjusting for skin type, sun exposure history and indication for NSAID use. Results: There were 7652 incident cases of NMSC (median follow-up: 6.9years). There was no association between regular NSAID-use and NMSC risk relative to no/low-users. However, in a subgroup analysis of 5325 women with a history of skin cancer (incident NMSC: 1897), odds of NMSC were lower among regular NSAID users whether <5years (OR 0.82, 95% CI: 0.70-0.95) or ≥5years (OR 0.82, 95% CI: 0.69-0.98) of use compared to no/low-users. Inconsistent NSAID use and acetaminophen use were not associated with NMSC risk. Conclusion: Overall, NSAID use was not associated with NMSC risk. However, in women with a history of skin cancer, regular NSAID use was associated with 18% lower odds of NMSC. Future studies on potential chemopreventative effects of NSAIDs should focus on subjects with prior history of NMSC.
    Preventive Medicine 08/2014; 69. DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.08.024 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Morphologic heterogeneity among melanocytic proliferations is a common challenge in the diagnosis of melanoma. In particular, atypical melanocytic lesions in children, adolescents, and young adults may be difficult to classify because of significant morphologic overlap with melanoma. Recently a four-probe fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) protocol to detect chromosomal abnormalities in chromosomes 6 and 11 has shown promise for improving the classification of melanocytic lesions. We sought to determine the correlation between FISH results, morphology, and clinical outcomes in a series of challenging melanocytic proliferations in young patients. We retrospectively performed the standard four-probe FISH analysis on 21 melanocytic neoplasms from 21 patients younger than 25 years of age (range 5-25 years, mean 14.6 years) from Stanford University Medical Center who were prospectively followed for a median of 51 months (range 1-136 months). The study cohort included patients with 5 confirmed melanomas, 2 melanocytic tumors of uncertain malignant potential (MelTUMPs), 10 morphologically challenging atypical Spitz tumors (ASTs), and 4 typical Spitz nevi. FISH detected chromosomal aberrations in all five melanomas and in one MelTUMP, in which the patient developed subsequent lymph node and distant metastasis. All 10 ASTs, 4 Spitz nevi, and 1 of 2 MelTUMPs were negative for significant gains or losses in chromosomes 6 and 11q. Our findings demonstrated a strong correlation between positive FISH results and the histomorphologic impression of melanoma. This finding was also true for the MelTUMP with poor clinical outcome. Therefore FISH may serve as a helpful adjunct in the classification of controversial melanocytic tumors in young patients.
    Pediatric Dermatology 06/2014; 31(5). DOI:10.1111/pde.12382 · 1.02 Impact Factor
  • Jonathan E. Mayer · Susan M. Swetter · Samantha Guild · Alan C. Geller
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    ABSTRACT: On June 1, 2011, the California Senate passed a bill banning minors from indoor tanning. We aimed to determine whether the bill’s passage was associated with longer-term media coverage regarding skin protection and the risks associated with indoor tanning. Articles from 31 English-language California newspapers between June 2010–May 2011 (PRE) and June 2011–May 2012 (POST) were searched using terms related to skin protection. Ninety articles were found for in-depth coding and analysis. There were more skin protection articles in the POST period than in the PRE period (57 vs 33; p < .05). In addition, there were more POST articles mentioning the risks of indoor tanning (33 vs 10; p < .001), and a POST article was more likely to mention the risks (58 vs 30 %; p < .05). The higher number of POST articles mentioning the risks persisted throughout all quarters. Therefore, the California indoor tanning ban was associated with increased longer-term news coverage of skin protection and the risks associated with indoor tanning. This finding has potential influence on the many states that are considering comparable legislation.
    Journal of Cancer Education 06/2014; 30(1). DOI:10.1007/s13187-014-0672-4 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Little is known about melanoma survivors’ long-term symptoms, sun protection practices, and support needs from health providers. Methods Melanoma survivors treated at Stanford Cancer Center from 1995 through 2011 were invited to complete a heath needs survey. We compared responses of survivors by sex, education, time since diagnosis (long-term vs. short-term survivors), and extent of treatment received (wide local excision (WLE) alone versus WLE plus additional surgical or medical treatment (WLE+)). Results One hundred sixty melanoma survivors (51 % male; 61 % long-term; 73 % WLE+) provided evaluable data. On average, patients were 62 years of age (SD = 14), highly educated (75 % college degree), and Caucasian (94 %). Overall, participants rated anxiety as the most prevalent symptom (34 %). Seventy percent reported that their health provider did not address their symptoms, and 53 % requested education about melanoma-specific issues. Following treatment, women spent significantly less time seeking a tan compared with men (p = 0.01), had more extremity swelling (p = 0.014), and expressed higher need for additional services (p = 0.03). Long-term survivors decreased their use of tanning beds (p = 0.03) and time spent seeking a tan (p = 0.002) and were less likely to receive skin screening every 3–6 months (p
    Supportive Care Cancer 05/2014; 22(11). DOI:10.1007/s00520-014-2286-0 · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The NCCN Guidelines for Melanoma provide multidisciplinary recommendations for the management of patients with melanoma. These NCCN Guidelines Insights highlight notable recent updates. Dabrafenib and trametinib, either as monotherapy (category 1) or combination therapy, have been added as systemic options for patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma harboring BRAF V600 mutations. Controversy continues regarding the value of adjuvant radiation for patients at high risk of nodal relapse. This is reflected in the category 2B designation to consider adjuvant radiation following lymphadenectomy for stage III melanoma with clinically positive nodes or recurrent disease.
    Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network: JNCCN 05/2014; 12(5):621-9. · 4.18 Impact Factor
  • Erik S Cabral · Frank W Chen · Barbara M Egbert · Susan M Swetter
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    ABSTRACT: Importance Apart from the atypical mole phenotype, development of new melanocytic nevi in older individuals is uncommon and considered worrisome for melanoma. We performed a retrospective case series in a Veterans Affairs population from 1991 to 2013 to characterize blue nevi (BN) by patient age at biopsy, location, self-reported duration, and relation to prior or subsequent development of cutaneous melanoma.Observations A total of 204 BN were identified in 194 predominantly male patients (90.7%) who had a mean (SD) age of 62.8 (14.4) years. Clinical duration of 10 years or less was reported by 90.3% of patients with available data (32.0%). Histopathologic examination classified 74.0% of BN as common, 1.5% as cellular, and 24.5% as combined type. No malignant BN were identified; however, 18 primary melanomas were diagnosed, most (72.2%) prior to blue nevus biopsy, including 38.9% in situ and 61.1% with mean (SD) Breslow thickness of 1.02 (0.99) mm.Conclusions and Relevance The later patient-reported onset of BN suggests a potential alternative mechanism of nevogenesis compared with common acquired nevi and differs from prior reports of BN development in younger adults. The lack of association with melanoma in older individuals suggests that most benign-appearing BN may be safely observed, even in a cohort at higher risk for skin cancer.
    04/2014; 150(8). DOI:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.7366

Publication Stats

2k Citations
472.51 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2015
    • Moncrief Cancer Institute
      Fort Worth, Texas, United States
  • 1997–2015
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Dermatology
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 2002–2014
    • VA Palo Alto Health Care System
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 1996–2012
    • Stanford Medicine
      • • Department of Dermatology
      • • Department of Pathology
      Stanford, California, United States
  • 2005–2009
    • Boston University
      • Department of Dermatology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2008
    • Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
      Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2006
    • Beverly Hospital, Boston MA
      Beverly, Massachusetts, United States