Review Article| Volume 45, ISSUE 1, P225-236, September 2011

What Does Ulceration of a Melanoma Mean for Prognosis?

      Ulceration is defined pathologically as the absence of intact epithelium overlying a melanoma. In patients with cutaneous melanoma, ulceration of the primary melanoma is a well-known prognostic factor associated with decreased disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS); presence or absence of ulceration has been incorporated into the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system for cutaneous melanoma since the sixth edition in 2002 [
      ]. Although the factors underlying the prognostic significance of ulceration are still largely unknown, ulceration is undoubtedly a marker of unfavorable tumor biology. Recent data suggest that ulceration may be a predictive marker for response to adjuvant interferon (IFN) alfa-2b therapy. This article reviews the data surrounding the prognostic implications of ulceration in cutaneous melanoma.
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