Sonography for Locoregional Staging and Follow-up of Cutaneous Melanoma How We Do It

Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Fondazione Pascale", Napoli, Campania, Italy
Journal of ultrasound in medicine: official journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.54). 05/2010; 29(5):791-802.
Source: PubMed


Sonography is being used with increasing frequency in the assessment of locoregional tumor spread in patients with melanoma. Nevertheless, to maximize its practical impact, sonography should be performed with state-of-the-art equipment, by specifically trained operators, and using a careful exploration technique and well-defined diagnostic criteria. In this "how I do it"-type article, we illustrate our practical approach to sonography of cutaneous melanoma.
We first illustrate the basic and advanced technical requirements; then we describe our exploration methods and our image interpretation approach; and finally, we report on our use of sonography as a guidance tool for interventional procedures. Special emphasis is given to methodological and interpretative clues, tricks, and pitfalls.
Sonography can be used in the initial staging of patients with melanoma, particularly in the screening of patients scheduled for a sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure. Additionally, sonography can be used during patient follow-up to detect locoregional recurrence earlier than palpation.
Sonography plays a growing role in the assessment of the superficial spread of melanoma. Nevertheless, state-of-the-art equipment and careful exploration by trained operators are necessary.

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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this systematic review of the literature was to evaluate the use of ultrasonography (US) in the assessment of lymph node metastasis in patients with cutaneous melanoma. A multimodal strategy was used, which was mainly based on a PubMed database search. Among the 201 cumulative articles collected (years 1989-2009), 31 were found to match all of the inclusion criteria and to provide a description of the use of US scanning in lymph node melanoma metastasis. Data extracted included the author's name and country, journal and year of publication, prospective or retrospective nature of the study, single-center or multicenter nature of the study, period when US studies were performed, US transducers used, gray scale and color Doppler criteria used for diagnosis, and data on US accuracy. The diagnostic criteria used in the 31 selected articles were critically reviewed, illustrating to the reader the discrepancies and unclear aspects identified. On the basis of this review, the need to establish definitive, clearly defined, and univocal diagnostic criteria to be applied in daily clinical practice as well as to be used in articles to be published is emphasized.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of ultrasound in medicine: official journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Sonography has proven to be a reliable tool in early detection of lymph node and in-transit cutaneous-subcutaneous metastases. Those metastases normally appear as hypoechoic or even anechoic lesions on sonography. It has been assumed that this appearance is due to necrosis of the lesions, but so far, that assumption has never been proven. The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate whether the hypoechoic appearance of melanoma metastasis is really due to tumor necrosis. From a radiographic database, we retrieved 212 melanoma cases imaged with sonography over a 2-year period for disease staging or follow-up. We selected 37 positive cases with 84 nodal and extranodal (satellite and in-transit) metastatic lesions and reviewed the sonograms and pathologic slides (slides available for 40 of 84 lesions). We retrospectively assessed the vascularization pattern (color Doppler images available for 78 of 84 lesions), categorizing it as poor, intermediate, or consistent. We also looked for necrosis on the histopathologic material, categorizing it into scores of 0, 1, 2, and 3 for absence of necrosis, less than 20% necrosis, 20% to 40% necrosis, and greater than 40% necrosis, respectively. Despite their gray scale appearance, most melanoma lesions were vascularized on color Doppler imaging and showed limited necrosis at histopathologic analysis. Consistent vascularization on Doppler imaging, excluding substantial necrosis, was found in 44 of 78 lesions (56.4%). Poor vascularization on Doppler imaging, suggesting necrosis, was present in only 14% of the lesions. Substantial necrosis (scores of 2 and 3) was found pathologically in only 10% of the lesions. Necrosis seems to be an uncommon event in melanoma metastasis and is probably not the basis for its low-level echo pattern on sonography. The hypoechoic appearance is very typical of melanoma metastasis and is likely due to massive melanomatous infiltration (with the poor echo reflectivity of melanin). However, confirmation in larger pathologically proven series is required.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Journal of ultrasound in medicine: official journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: The objective of our study was to define the diagnostic accuracy of high-resolution ultrasound (US) in detecting nodal involvement before sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in patients with cutaneous melanoma, to define the sonographic criteria used to assess nodal metastases, and to establish if high-resolution US can directly select patients to radical lymphadenectomy, sparing selective lymphadenectomy. Materials and methods: 623 patients underwent high-resolution US of the regional lymph nodes, 24 hours prior being submitted to the sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure. The US findings were compared with histological findings. Results: In 14.7 % out of 122 excised lymph nodes, high-resolution US showed sonographic features consistent with malignant involvement before the surgical step. US scan sensitivity and specificity were 15 and 100 %, respectively, since positive and negative predictive values were 100 and 87 % respectively. Conclusion: US is an effective modality in the presurgical detection of subclinical deposits within sentinel lymph nodes. However, preoperative staging work-up with high-resolution US cannot substitute the SLNB, mainly because of low sensitivity due to missing many micrometastases.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Ultraschall in der Medizin
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