Clinicopathologic predictors of survival in patients with desmoplastic melanoma

Dale Han, Gang Han, Xiuhua Zhao, Nikhil G. Rao, Jane L. Messina, Suroosh S. Marzban, Amod A. Sarnaik, C. Wayne Cruse, Vernon K. Sondak, Jonathan S. Zager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Desmoplastic melanoma is a unique subtype of melanoma which typically affects older patients who often have comorbidities that can adversely affect survival. We sought to identify melanoma-specific factors influencing survival in patients with desmoplastic melanoma. Methods: Retrospective review from 1993 to 2011 identified 316 patients with primary desmoplastic melanoma. Clinicopathologic characteristics were correlated with nodal status and outcome. Results: Fifty-five patients (17.4%) had nodal disease: 33 had a positive sentinel lymph node biopsy and 22 developed nodal recurrences (no sentinel lymph node biopsy or false-negative sentinel lymph node biopsy). Nodal disease occurred more often in younger patients and in cases with mixed compared with pure histology (26.7% vs. 14.6%); both of these variables significantly predicted nodal status on multivariable analysis (p<0.05). After a median follow-up of 5.3 years, recurrence developed in 87 patients (27.5%), and 111 deaths occurred. The cause of death was known in 79 cases, with 47 deaths (59.5%) being melanoma-related. On multivariable analysis, Breslow thickness, mitotic rate ≥1/mm2 and nodal status significantly predicted melanoma-specific survival (p<0.05). Conclusions: Nodal status predicts melanoma-specific survival in patients with desmoplastic melanoma. However, since patients with desmoplastic melanoma represent an older population, and a considerable proportion of deaths are not melanoma-related (40.5%), comorbidities should be carefully considered in making staging and treatment decisions in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0119716
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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