Timely treatment of melanoma helps improve patient survival
Delays in the treatment of melanoma may worsen overall (OM) and melanoma-specific mortality (MSM), suggest the results of a recent study.
A team of investigators conducted a population-based analysis to explore the effect of surgical treatment delays on MSM and OM. They identified patients with stage I to III cutaneous melanoma through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database (n=108,689). Eligible patients had time from diagnosis to definitive surgery and follow-up time.
Finally, the impact of treatment delays on mortality was assessed through Cox proportional hazards and Fine-Gray competing risks analyses.
Treatment delays of 3‒5 months resulted in worse MSM and any delay beyond 1 month significantly correlated with worse OM across all stages of melanoma. Subgroup analysis of patients with stage I disease revealed that delays of 3‒5 months also led to worse MSM while any delay beyond 1 month was associated with worse OM.
In patients with stage II disease, delays of at least 6 months resulted in worse MSM and delays of 3‒5 months led to worse OM. On the other hand, treatment delays showed no significant effect in patients with stage III disease.
Therefore, “[t]imely treatment of melanoma may be associated with improved OM and MSM,” the investigators said.
One limitation of this study was that the SEER databases did not collect comprehensive data on adjuvant treatments, disease recurrence, or treatment failure.