Research Perspective: When Does a Melanoma Metastasize? Implications for Management


“[...] immunotherapy is more likely to be effective at eliminating metastatic disease if the tumor burden is low, making it more logical to treat patients with high-risk melanomas at the earliest possible time [...]”


BUFFALO, NY- June 18, 2024 – A new research perspective was published in Oncotarget's Volume 15 on June 13, 2024, entitled, “When does a melanoma metastasize? Implications for management.”


In this new perspective, researchers John F. Thompson and Gabrielle J. Williams from The University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the University of Western Australia discussed melanoma and timing treatment. Selecting which patients with clinically localized melanoma require treatment other than wide excision of the primary tumor is based on the risk or presence of metastatic disease. This in turn is linked to survival.


“Knowing if and when a melanoma is likely to metastasize is therefore of great importance.” 


Several studies employing a range of different methodologies have suggested that many melanomas metastasize long before the primary lesion is diagnosed. Therefore, waiting for dissemination of metastatic disease to become evident before making systemic therapy available to these patients may be less effective than giving them post-operative adjuvant therapy initially if the metastatic risk is high. The identification of these high-risk patients will assist in selecting those to whom adjuvant systemic therapy can most appropriately be offered. 


“Further studies are required to better identify high-risk patients whose primary melanoma is likely to have already metastasized.”


Continue reading: DOI: https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.28591 


Correspondence to: John F. Thompson


Email: [email protected] 


Keywords: melanoma, metastasis, time, adjuvant systemic therapy, tumor doubling time


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About Oncotarget: Oncotarget (a primarily oncology-focused, peer-reviewed, open-access journal) aims to maximize research impact through insightful peer-review; eliminate borders between specialties by linking different fields of oncology, cancer research and biomedical sciences; and foster application of basic and clinical science.


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