Clinically Significant Risk Thresholds in the Management of Primary Cutaneous Melanoma: A Survey of Melanoma Experts

Edmund K. Bartlett, Douglas Grossman, Susan M. Swetter, Sancy A. Leachman, Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, Stephen W. Dusza, Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, John M. Kirkwood, Amy L. Tin, Andrew J. Vickers, Michael A. Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Risk-based thresholds to guide management are undefined in the treatment of primary cutaneous melanoma but are essential to advance the field from traditional stage-based treatment to more individualized care. Methods: To estimate treatment risk thresholds, hypothetical clinical melanoma scenarios were developed and a stratified random sample was distributed to expert melanoma clinicians via an anonymous web-based survey. Scenarios provided a defined 5-year risk of recurrence and asked for recommendations regarding clinical follow-up, imaging, and adjuvant therapy. Marginal probability of response across the spectrum of 5-year recurrence risk was estimated. The risk at which 50% of respondents recommended a treatment was defined as the risk threshold. Results: The overall response rate was 56% (89/159). Three separate multivariable models were constructed to estimate the recommendations for clinical follow-up more than twice/year, for surveillance cross-sectional imaging at least once/year, and for adjuvant therapy. A 36% 5-year risk of recurrence was identified as the threshold for recommending clinical follow-up more than twice/year. The thresholds for recommending cross-sectional imaging and adjuvant therapy were 30 and 59%, respectively. Thresholds varied with the age of the hypothetical patient: at younger ages they were constant but increased rapidly at ages 60 years and above. Conclusions: To our knowledge, these data provide the first estimates of clinically significant treatment thresholds for patients with cutaneous melanoma based on risk of recurrence. Future refinement and adoption of thresholds would permit assessment of the clinical utility of novel prognostic tools and represents an early step toward individualizing treatment recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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