Incisional biopsy and melanoma prognosis: Facts and controversies

Annette Pflugfelder, Benjamin Weide, Thomas Kurt Eigentler, Andrea Forschner, Ulrike Leiter, Laura Held, Friedegund Meier, Claus Garbe
Clinics in Dermatology 2010, 28 (3): 316-8
Facing the increasing number of melanoma patients is the controversial question of whether an incisional biopsy is associated with an unfavorable patient prognosis. Results of nine studies that occurred during the last four decades were reviewed. One of these studies was a large, prospective randomized controlled trial. Evidence from this trial and from most other studies is that incisional biopsies were not associated with an unfavorable prognosis for melanoma patients. Incisional biopsies are currently recommended for the histopathologic diagnosis of large tumors in facial, mucosal, and acral locations. Complete excisional biopsies are the generally recommended standard for melanoma surgery. Incisional biopsies of malignant melanoma do not negatively influence prognosis. Complete excision of primary melanoma is still the recommended standard of care and is a precondition for accurate histopathologic diagnosis.

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