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Meta‐analysis of completion lymph node dissection in sentinel lymph node‐positive melanoma. BJS 2019; 106: 672-681.

Published: 26th March 2019

Authors: C. V. Angeles, R. Kang, K. Shirai, S. L. Wong

Background

The role of completion lymph node dissection (CLND) in patients with sentinel lymph node (SLN)‐positive melanoma continues to be debated. This systematic review and meta‐analysis evaluated survival and recurrence rate in these patients who underwent CLND, compared with observation.

Method

A comprehensive MEDLINE and Embase database search was performed for cohort studies and RCTs published between January 2000 and June 2017 that assessed the outcomes of CLND compared with observation in patients with SLN‐positive melanoma. The primary outcome was survival and the secondary outcome was recurrence rate. Studies were assessed for quality using the Cochrane risk‐of‐bias tool for RCTs and Newcastle–Ottawa Scale for cohort studies. Pooled relative risk or hazard ratio with 95 per cent confidence intervals were calculated for each outcome. The extent of heterogeneity between studies was assessed with the I2 test. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42017070152).

Results

Fifteen studies (13 cohort studies with 7868 patients and 2 RCTs with 2228 patients) were identified for qualitative synthesis. Thirteen studies remained for quantitative meta‐analysis. Survival was similar in patients who underwent CLND and those who were observed (risk ratio (RR) for death 0·85, 95 per cent c.i. 0·71 to 1·02). The recurrence rate was also similar (RR 0·91, 0·79 to 1·05).

Conclusion

Patients with SLN‐positive melanoma do not have a significant benefit in survival or recurrence rate if they undergo CLND rather than observation.

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