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Review of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and Systemic Interferon for Melanoma: Promising but Investigational Modalities

Otley, Clark C. MD1; Zitelli, John A. MD2

doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2000.09272.x

Background. There is conflicting data regarding the efficacy of systemic interferon as adjuvant therapy for high-risk cutaneous melanoma. Sentinel lymph node biopsy has recently gained acceptance in the surgical management of high-risk melanoma, despite a lack of data supporting its efficacy.

Objective. To review the evidence concerning interferon and lymph node biopsy in the management of melanoma.

Methods. A systematic review of all randomized, controlled trials involving adjuvant interferon and sentinel lymph node biopsy in management of melanoma is presented.

Results. Current data regarding the efficacy of adjuvant interferon in the management of melanoma is conflicting. The conflicting results of studies involving both low-dose and high-dose systemic interferon for the adjuvant treatment of melanoma remain unresolved. There is no randomized, controlled data to support the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy in the management of melanoma, despite its widespread acceptance.

Conclusion. Sentinel lymph node biopsy and systemic interferon remain promising modalities in the management of melanoma, although there is no affinitive evidence to support their efficacy.

1 Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and

2 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center/Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Clark C. Otley, MD, Mayo Clinic, Department of Dermatology, 200 1st Street, SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55905.

© 2000 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc.
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