Performance of a 31-gene expression profile test in cutaneous melanomas of the head and neck

Brian R. Gastman, Jonathan S. Zager, Jane L. Messina, Robert W. Cook, Kyle R. Covington, Brooke Middlebrook, Pedram Gerami, Jeffrey D. Wayne, Sancy Leachman, John T. Vetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: We report the performance of a gene expression profile test to classify the recurrence risk of cutaneous melanoma tumors of the head and neck as low-risk Class 1 or high-risk Class 2. Methods: Of note, 157 primary head and neck cutaneous melanoma tumors were identified. Survival analyses were performed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox methods. Results: Gene expression profile class and node status stratified tumors into significantly different 5-year survival groups by Kaplan-Meier method (P <.0001 for all end points), and both were independent predictors of recurrence in multivariate analysis. Overall, 74% of distant metastases and 88% of melanoma-specific deaths had Class 2 risk. Conclusion: The gene expression profile test identifies cases at increased risk for metastasis and death independent of a clinically or pathologically negative nodal status, suggesting that incorporation of this molecular tool could improve clinical management of patients with head and neck cutaneous melanoma, especially in those with a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-879
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • cutaneous melanoma
  • gene expression profiling
  • metastasis
  • prognosis
  • staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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