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      Reply to N. Hirshoren et al and D. Chakrabarti et al

      1 , 1
      Journal of Clinical Oncology
      American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

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          Final trial report of sentinel-node biopsy versus nodal observation in melanoma.

          Sentinel-node biopsy, a minimally invasive procedure for regional melanoma staging, was evaluated in a phase 3 trial. We evaluated outcomes in 2001 patients with primary cutaneous melanomas randomly assigned to undergo wide excision and nodal observation, with lymphadenectomy for nodal relapse (observation group), or wide excision and sentinel-node biopsy, with immediate lymphadenectomy for nodal metastases detected on biopsy (biopsy group). Results No significant treatment-related difference in the 10-year melanoma-specific survival rate was seen in the overall study population (20.8% with and 79.2% without nodal metastases). Mean (± SE) 10-year disease-free survival rates were significantly improved in the biopsy group, as compared with the observation group, among patients with intermediate-thickness melanomas, defined as 1.20 to 3.50 mm (71.3 ± 1.8% vs. 64.7 ± 2.3%; hazard ratio for recurrence or metastasis, 0.76; P=0.01), and those with thick melanomas, defined as >3.50 mm (50.7 ± 4.0% vs. 40.5 ± 4.7%; hazard ratio, 0.70; P=0.03). Among patients with intermediate-thickness melanomas, the 10-year melanoma-specific survival rate was 62.1 ± 4.8% among those with metastasis versus 85.1 ± 1.5% for those without metastasis (hazard ratio for death from melanoma, 3.09; P<0.001); among patients with thick melanomas, the respective rates were 48.0 ± 7.0% and 64.6 ± 4.9% (hazard ratio, 1.75; P=0.03). Biopsy-based management improved the 10-year rate of distant disease-free survival (hazard ratio for distant metastasis, 0.62; P=0.02) and the 10-year rate of melanoma-specific survival (hazard ratio for death from melanoma, 0.56; P=0.006) for patients with intermediate-thickness melanomas and nodal metastases. Accelerated-failure-time latent-subgroup analysis was performed to account for the fact that nodal status was initially known only in the biopsy group, and a significant treatment benefit persisted. Biopsy-based staging of intermediate-thickness or thick primary melanomas provides important prognostic information and identifies patients with nodal metastases who may benefit from immediate complete lymphadenectomy. Biopsy-based management prolongs disease-free survival for all patients and prolongs distant disease-free survival and melanoma-specific survival for patients with nodal metastases from intermediate-thickness melanomas. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and the Australia and New Zealand Melanoma Trials Group; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00275496.).
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            Completion Dissection or Observation for Sentinel-Node Metastasis in Melanoma

            BACKGROUND Sentinel-lymph-node biopsy is associated with increased melanoma-specific survival (i.e., survival until death from melanoma) among patients with node-positive intermediate-thickness melanomas (1.2 to 3.5 mm). The value of completion lymph-node dissection for patients with sentinel-node metastases is not clear. METHODS In an international trial, we randomly assigned patients with sentinel-node metastases detected by means of standard pathological assessment or a multimarker molecular assay to immediate completion lymph-node dissection (dissection group) or nodal observation with ultrasonography (observation group). The primary end point was melanoma-specific survival. Secondary end points included disease-free survival and the cumulative rate of nonsentinel-node metastasis. RESULTS Immediate completion lymph-node dissection was not associated with increased melanoma-specific survival among 1934 patients with data that could be evaluated in an intention-to-treat analysis or among 1755 patients in the per-protocol analysis. In the per-protocol analysis, the mean (±SE) 3-year rate of melanoma-specific survival was similar in the dissection group and the observation group (86±1.3% and 86±1.2%, respectively; P=0.42 by the log-rank test) at a median follow-up of 43 months. The rate of disease-free survival was slightly higher in the dissection group than in the observation group (68±1.7% and 63±1.7%, respectively; P=0.05 by the log-rank test) at 3 years, based on an increased rate of disease control in the regional nodes at 3 years (92±1.0% vs. 77±1.5%; P<0.001 by the log-rank test); these results must be interpreted with caution. Nonsentinel-node metastases, identified in 11.5% of the patients in the dissection group, were a strong, independent prognostic factor for recurrence (hazard ratio, 1.78; P=0.005). Lymphedema was observed in 24.1% of the patients in the dissection group and in 6.3% of those in the observation group. CONCLUSIONS Immediate completion lymph-node dissection increased the rate of regional disease control and provided prognostic information but did not increase melanoma-specific survival among patients with melanoma and sentinel-node metastases. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; MSLT-II ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00297895.)
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              Equivalence Randomized Trial to Compare Treatment on the Basis of Sentinel Node Biopsy Versus Neck Node Dissection in Operable T1-T2N0 Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer

              Sentinel node (SN) biopsy is accurate in operable oral and oropharyngeal cT1-T2N0 cancer (OC), but, to our knowledge, the oncologic equivalence of SN biopsy and neck lymph node dissection (ND; standard treatment) has never been evaluated. In this phase III multicenter trial, 307 patients with OC were randomly assigned to (1) the ND arm or (2) the SN arm (experimental arm: biopsy alone if negative, or followed by ND if positive, during primary tumor surgery). The primary outcome was neck node recurrence-free survival (RFS) at 2 years. Secondary outcomes were 5-year neck node RFS, 2- and 5-year disease-specific survival (DSS), and overall survival (OS). Other outcomes were hospital stay length, neck and shoulder morbidity, and number of physiotherapy prescriptions during the 2 years after surgery. Data on 279 patients (139 ND and 140 SN) could be analyzed. Neck node RFS was 89.6% (95% CI, 0.83% to 0.94%) at 2 years in the ND arm and 90.7% (95% CI, 0.84% to 0.95%) in the SN arm, confirming the equivalence with P < .01. The 5-year RFS and the 2- and 5-year DSS and OS were not significantly different between arms. The median hospital stay length was 8 days in the ND arm and 7 days in the SN arm ( P < .01). The functional outcomes were significantly worse in the ND arm until 6 months after surgery. This study demonstrated the oncologic equivalence of the SN and ND approaches, with lower morbidity in the SN arm during the first 6 months after surgery, thus establishing SN as the standard of care in OC.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Journal of Clinical Oncology
                JCO
                American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
                0732-183X
                1527-7755
                May 10 2021
                May 10 2021
                : 39
                : 14
                : 1600-1601
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Stephen Y. Lai, MD, PhD, Departments of Head and Neck Surgery, Molecular and Cellular Oncology, and Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX and Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, Departments of Otolaryngology, Immunology, and Radiation Oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, PA
                Article
                10.1200/JCO.21.00027
                8a3e508b-812f-472a-882b-cf5c018fb9c1
                © 2021
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