Significance of mitotic rate in melanoma prognosis

Have a look at this abstract which is the importance of mitotic rate (and lack of importance of Clark level)

J Clin Oncol. 2011 Apr 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Prognostic Significance of Mitotic Rate in Localized Primary Cutaneous Melanoma: An Analysis of Patients in the Multi-Institutional American Joint Committee on Cancer Melanoma Staging Database.


Melanoma Institute Australia; and the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; John Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD; and University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.


PURPOSE The aim of this study was to assess the independent prognostic value of primary tumor mitotic rate compared with other clinical and pathologic features of stages I and II melanoma. METHODS From the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) melanoma staging database, information was extracted for 13,296 patients with stages I and II disease who had mitotic rate data available. Results Survival times declined as mitotic rate increased. Ten-year survival ranged from 93% for patients whose tumors had 0 mitosis/mm(2) to 48% for those with ≥ 20/mm(2) (P < .001). Mean number of mitoses/mm(2) increased as the primary melanomas became thicker (1.0 for melanomas ≤ 1 mm, 3.5 for 1.01 to 2.0 mm, 7.3 for 3.01 to 4.0 mm, and 9.6 for > 8 mm). Ulceration was also associated with a higher mitotic rate; 59% of ulcerated melanomas had ≥ 5 mitoses/mm(2) compared with 16% of nonulcerated melanomas (P < .001). In a multivariate analysis of 10,233 patients, the independent predictive factors for survival in order of statistical significance were as follows: tumor thickness (χ(2) = 104.9; P < .001), mitotic rate (χ(2) = 67.0; P < .001), patient age (χ(2) = 48.2; P < .001), ulceration (χ(2) = 46.4; P < .001), anatomic site (χ(2) = 34.6; P < .001), and patient sex (χ(2) = 33.9; P < .001). Clark level of invasion was not an independent predictor of survival (χ(2) = 3.2; P = .37). CONCLUSION A high mitotic rate in a primary melanoma is associated with a lower survival probability. Among the independent predictors of melanoma-specific survival, mitotic rate was the strongest prognostic factor after tumor thickness.

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