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Front Oncol


melanoma; multiple lymph node basin; prognosis; sentinel lymph node biopsy; survival rate


BACKGROUND: The prognostic significance of multiple draining basins is controversial in melanoma because analyses have not adequately controlled for standard prognostic variables. We hypothesized that an analysis based on prognostically matched pairs of patients with multiple versus single drainage basins would clarify any independent role of basin number.

STUDY DESIGN: We identified patients in our 40-year prospective database, who underwent preoperative lymphoscintigraphy, intraoperative sentinel node biopsy and wide local excision for cutaneous melanoma. Overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS), and disease-free survival (DFS) were compared in patients with multiple versus single drainage basins after matching by age, sex, Breslow depth, primary site, and stage at diagnosis.

RESULTS: We identified 274 patients with multibasin drainage and 1,413 patients with single draining lymph node basins. Matching yielded 259 pairs (226 trunk, 27 head/neck, 6 extremity). Among matched pairs, multibasin drainage did not affect rates of lymph node metastasis (

CONCLUSION: This analysis, the first to match for standard prognostic factors, suggests that multiplebasin drainage as identified by lymphoscintigraphy has no independent biological or prognostic significance in primary cutaneous melanoma.

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