Commentary (Shen): Radiotherapy for Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma: Rationale and Indications
January 01, 2004
Radiation therapy is not part ofthe traditional treatment approachto cutaneous melanoma.Aggressive surgical resection ofboth the primary site and regional nodalmetastases has long been consideredthe only option for achievinglong-term disease-free and overall survival.Many patients who present withmelanoma have thin lesions (< 1 mmBreslow thickness) and are essentiallycured with a wide local excision ofthe primary site. Patients with thickermelanomas and clinically negativeregional nodal basins often undergowide excision and sentinel node biopsyto identify occult nodal metastases.Those who have a sentinel lymphnode positive for metastatic diseaseor clinically positive nodes undergo atherapeutic lymph node dissection toprovide local control and possibly preventdistant metastatic disease. Recentarticles such as the one by Balloand Ang, however, highlight the in-creasedrole of external-beam radiationtherapy in the treatment of malignantmelanoma.