Cutaneous melanoma is steadily increasing worldwide. The new AJCC 8th edition was recently launched and introduced several changes in melanoma staging, particularly for stage III. We conducted a population-based registry study with the purpose to evaluate the impact and prognostic accuracy of the new classification in Sweden.
Consecutive patients diagnosed with stage III melanoma between January 2005 and September 2017 were identified by the Swedish Melanoma Registry (SMR) and included for analyses. Patients with multiple primary melanomas were excluded. Patients were classified according to the AJCC 7th as well as the 8th edition. Melanoma-specific survival (MSS) was retrieved from the Swedish Cause of Death Registry.
A total of 2067 eligible patients were identified from the SMR; 1150 patients (57%) changed stage III subgroup when reclassified according to the AJCC 8th edition. The median 5- and 10-year MSS for the whole cohort of stage III melanoma patients was 59% and 51% respectively. The MSS for substage IIIA, B, and C were all improved when patients were reclassified by using to the AJCC 8th edition. The newly defined substage IIID had the worst prognosis with a 10-year MSS of 16%.
A high proportion of patients diagnosed with stage III melanoma in Sweden between 2005 and 2017 was restaged to another subgroup, when they were reclassified according to the AJCC 8th of staging manual. We established an improved MSS for all substages compared with the former AJCC 7th edition. This may have implications on decisions about adjuvant treatment.
CommentIn: Ann Surg Oncol. 2019 Dec;26(Suppl 3):713-714 PMID 31468215