Clinical question: Is there nowadays any benefit of continuing the practice of routine wide local excision (WLE) for primary stage I/II cutaneous melanoma? Background: WLE aims to eradicate potential microsatellites around melanomas and thereby reduce local recurrence rates and improve overall survival. Six large prospective randomised trials investigated WLE versus wider WLE, they all failed to show any effect on overall survival (OS). Methods: A literature search was performed to identify data on outcome after omitting WLE. Additionally circumstantial evidence was gathered from pathology studies and outcomes of modified surgical techniques, as well as publications on morbidity. Results: No prospective and one retrospective study was found. The retrospective study showed no difference in OS after correction for confounding factors. Pathology studies showed a low incidence of residual melanoma in WLE specimen (0–4.2%). Mohs surgery does not show a difference in recurrence rates or OS. WLE is associated with considerable postoperative morbidity, which increases with wider excision margins. Conclusion: There is no solid prospective evidence to support the classic dogma of a 2-step approach with the use of WLE for primary cutaneous melanoma that has been completely excised on diagnostic excision biopsy. We recommend to setup and conduct a prospective randomised trial to compare the classical 2-step approach with WLE to a complete diagnostic excision only to abolish the routine practice of WLE in the future.
- Margins of Excision
- Mohs Surgery/methods
- Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/pathology
- Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
- Retrospective Studies
- Skin Neoplasms/pathology