New England Journal of Medicine 318(18): 1159-1162, 1988.
Veronesi U, Cascinelli N, Adamus J, et al.
Although wide surgical excision is the accepted treatment for thin malignant melanomas, there is reason to believe that narrower margins may be adequate. We conducted a randomized prospective study to assess the efficacy of narrow excision (excision with 1-cm margins) for primary melanomas no thicker than 2 mm. Narrow excision was performed in 305 patients, and wide excision (margins of 3 cm or more) was performed in 307 patients. The major prognostic criteria were well balanced in the two groups. The mean thickness of melanomas was 0.99 mm in the narrow-excision group and 1.02 mm in the wide-excision group. The subsequent development of metastatic disease involving regional nodes and distant organs was not different in the two groups (4.6 and 2.3 percent, respectively, in the narrow-excision group, as compared with 6.5 and 2.6 percent in the wide-excision group). Disease-free survival rates and overall survival rates (mean follow-up period, 55 months) were also similar in the two groups. Only three patients had a local recurrence as a first relapse. All had undergone narrow excision, and each had a primary melanoma with a thickness of 1 mm or more. The absence of local recurrence in the group of patients with a primary melanoma thinner than 1 mm and the very low rate of local recurrences indicate that narrow excision is a safe and effective procedure for such patients.
Rheinische Friedrich- Wilhelms- Universität Bonn