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September 1978

Melanoma Thickness and Elective Node Dissection

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

Arch Dermatol. 1978;114(9):1399. doi:10.1001/archderm.1978.01640210078029

To the Editor.—  I read with interest the excellent editorial "Malignant Melanoma" by Callen et al (Archives 114:369-370, 1978). It is a fine summary of the literature, but I would like to comment on the question of elective node dissection. On the basis of our retrospective study,1 we did confirm Hansen and McCarten's observations2 that elective node dissection appeared to improve the survival rate for patients with tumors greater than 1.5 mm in thickness but had no effect on patients with thinner tumors. We realized, however, that only a randomized prospective study, such as that of the World Health Organization Melanoma Center,3 could properly assess the value of elective node dissection in melanoma. We were given the opportunity of measuring the thickness of tumors of their cases but were unable