Cutaneous melanoma: baseline and ongoing laboratory evaluation.

Numerous laboratory tests and imaging methods are available that can be used in patients who are diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma. The downside risks related to testing are cost and patient anxiety. Therefore, it must be critically considered which examinations are useful and feasible. After a diagnosis of primary cutaneous melanoma, many physicians in Germany perform lymph node ultrasound to detect occult regional metastasis. Whole-body imaging techniques, except the physical examination, are unlikely to detect distant occult metastasis. In tumors that have an intermediate or high risk of recurrence (> 1 mm tumor thickness), baseline whole-body imaging may serve as a reference for ongoing evaluation. During follow-up care, physical examination alone is appropriate when there is a low risk for recurrence (up to 1-mm tumor thickness). In patients whose tumors are > 1 mm thickness, regular lymph node ultrasound examinations and determination of serum tumor marker S-100beta protein are commonly used by physicians in Germany. Whole-body imaging techniques are useful in patients who have locoregional and/or distant metastasis. For consideration of surgical resections in stage IV disease, more advanced examinations techniques such as positron emission tomography-computed tomography or whole body magnetic resonance imaging may be used. Early detection of limited disease using these methods may be helpful for patients who have locoregional metastases and for 10-20% of patients who have distant metastases and whose limited disease may be amenable to surgical resection.
AuthorsClaus Garbe
JournalDermatologic therapy (Dermatol Ther) 2005 Nov-Dec Vol. 18 Issue 6 Pg. 413-21 ISSN: 1396-0296 [Print] Denmark
PMID16297017 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
Chemical References
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Biomarkers, Tumor (blood)
  • Diagnostic Imaging (methods)
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis (diagnosis)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Melanoma (diagnosis, pathology)
  • Neoplasm Staging (methods)
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin Neoplasms (diagnosis, pathology)

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