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MMS linked with better survival in early-stage melanoma.

Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) may be a viable alternative to wide margin excision (WME) in selected patients with early-stage invasive melanoma, according to a retrospective cohort study.

In the study, which was published in JAMA Dermatology, patients who underwent MMS had a "modest survival advantage" when compared with those who were treated with WME, the approach recommended for treatment of invasive melanoma without nodal or extralymphatic metastases in national guidelines, reported the investigaLors.

"We sought herein to investigate the association of the type of surgical excision--WME or MMS--with overall survival for cases of American Joint Committee on Cancer Cancer Staging Manual 8th edition (AJCC-8) stage I invasive melanoma," wrote Shayan Cheraghlou, of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., and colleagues.

The researchers identified a total of 70,319 patients diagnosed with stage I invasive melanoma between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2014. Data were collected from the National Cancer Database, including 3,234 (4.6%) and 67,085 (95.4%) patients who underwent MMS and WME, respectively. The median age of patients in the cohort was 57 years; 47.7% were female, and almost 97% were white.

In the survival analysis, the team adjusted for clinical and tumor-specific variables and conducted a matched analysis using propensity scores. The primary outcome measured was overall survival.

After analysis, the researchers found that MMS was associated with modestly better overall survival when compared with WME after adjustments (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.76-0.97). In the propensity score-matched analysis, a similar modest survival advantage was seen for patients who underwent Mohs micrographic surgery (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68-0.98).

"Significant differences in treatment practices based on the treatment facility were noted, with academic facilities more than twice as likely as nonacademic facilities to use MMS," they wrote.

The researchers acknowledged a key limitation of the study was the use of a convenience sample, as opposed to a population-based sample. As a result, the generalizability of the findings may be limited to certain treatment facilities.

"These data suggest that MMS is an effective approach compared with WME for AJCC-8 stage I invasive melanoma," they concluded.

No funding sources were reported. The authors reported having no conflicts of interest.


Results significant, but not surprising

WHILE CONTROVERSIAL historically, evidence showing benefit for Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) in patients with melanoma has been reported. The findings from the current study add to the body of retrospective data suggesting improved survival for those with early-stage disease.

The survival benefit found by Cheraghlou et al., "although relatively novel," is not surprising. Previous population-based and database studies have demonstrated a nonsignificant trend toward a survival advantage in patients with early-stage melanoma. In addition, no survival disadvantages have been reported in any other stage of malignancy.

The primary advantage of MMS is the ability of the surgery to allow for full tumor resection. Reducing the likelihood of recurrence and ensuring local control is maximized remain key strategies to ensuring survival in patients with melanoma.

Database studies have limitations, and care should be taken not to overinterpret the results of a study with two groups of patients that are disproportionate in size. As the authors of the study note, their results support the need for prospective studies to compare surgical melanoma treatments. And until those studies can be done, "the weight of existing evidence suggests that MMS is a safe and effective treatment for melanoma."

These comments are adapted from an accompanying editorial (JAMA Dermatol. 2019 Sep 25. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.2622) by Ian Maher, MD, professor and director of dermatologic surgery at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He reported having no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Cheraghlou S et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2019 Sep 25. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.2890.


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Title Annotation:MELANOMA
Author:Rans, Caleb
Publication:Dermatology News
Date:Dec 1, 2019
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