To convene a multidisciplinary panel of dermatologists, surgical oncologists, and medical oncologists to formally review available data on the sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy procedure and high-dose adjuvant interferon alfa-2b therapy for patients with melanoma and to rate the "appropriateness," "inappropriateness," or "uncertainty" of the procedure and therapy to guide clinical decision making in practice.The panel comprised 13 specialists (4 dermatologists, 4 oncologists, and 5 surgeons) from geographically diverse areas who practiced in community-based settings (n = 8) and academic institutions (n = 5). Participants were chosen based on recommendations from the relevant specialty organizations.A formal literature review was conducted by investigators at Protocare Sciences Inc, Santa Monica, Calif, on the risks and benefits of performing an SLN biopsy in patients with stage I or II melanoma and adjuvant interferon alfa-2b therapy in patients with stage II or III disease. The MEDLINE database was searched from 1966 through July 2000, and supplemental information was obtained from various cancer societies and cancer research groups. Panel participants were queried on additional sources of relevant information. Unpublished, presented data were included in abstract form on 1 recently closed clinical trial.The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method was used to review and rate multiple clinical scenarios for the use of SLN biopsy and interferon alfa-2b therapy. The consensus method did not force agreement.The panel rated 104 clinical scenarios and concluded that the SLN biopsy procedure was appropriate for primary melanomas deeper than 1.0 mm and for tumors 1 mm or less when histologic ulceration was present and/or classified as Clark level 4 or higher. The SLN biopsy was deemed inappropriate for nonulcerated Clark level 2 or 3 melanomas 0.75 mm or less in depth and uncertain in tumors 0.76 to 1.0 mm deep unless they were ulcerated or Clark level 4 or higher. Interferon alfa-2b therapy was deemed appropriate for patients with regional nodal and/or in-transit metastasis and for node-negative patients with primary melanomas deeper than 4 mm. The panel considered the use of interferon alfa-2b therapy uncertain in patients with ulcerated intermediate primary tumors (2.01-4.0 mm in depth) and inappropriate for node-negative patients with nonulcerated tumors less than 4.0 mm deep. Specialty-specific ratings were conducted as well.
View details for Web of Science ID 000170942600011
View details for PubMedID 11559220