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Factors associated with melanoma-related limb lymphoedema

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BACKGROUND: Melanoma-related limb lymphoedema is a well-known late effect following sentinel node biopsy (SNB), and lymph node dissection (LND) in patients treated of melanoma. However, data on associated risk factors are sparse. This study aimed to investigate factors associated with melanoma-related limb lymphoedema.

METHODS: The present cross-sectional single-center clinical study included patients between 18 and 75 years with American Joint Committee on Cancer Stages I-III melanoma treated with wide local excision (WLE) and unilateral axillary or inguinal SNB and/or completion LND (CLND) or therapeutic LND (TLND). The diagnosis of secondary unilateral limb lymphoedema was based on the history, symptoms, and physical examination and staged according to the International Society of Lymphology (ISL). Data on factors associated with lymphoedema were analysed with binary logistic regression models.

RESULTS: In total, 642 patients were eligible, of which 435 (68%) patients participated in the study. Among these 431 patients, 109 (25%) had lymphoedema of which 48 (44%), and 61 (56%) were classified with ISL Stages I and II-III, respectively. Multivariate analyses identified primary tumour on the limb (odds ratio [OR], 2.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17-4.56; p value .017), inguinal surgery (OR, 6.91; 95% CI, 3.49-14.11; p value <.0001), LND (OR, 6.45; 95% CI, 3.18-13.57; p value <.0001), and persistent pain at the site of lymph node surgery as factors associated with lymphoedema (OR, 3.52; 95% CI, 1.54-8.19; p value .003). Multivariable analysis of ISL Stage II-III lymphoedema further identified limb cellulitis to be associated with lymphoedema (OR 5.74; 95% CI, 2.11-15.99; p value .0006).

CONCLUSIONS: Melanoma-related limb lymphoedema is associated with inguinal surgery, LND, primary tumour on the limb, persistent pain at the site of lymph node surgery, and cellulitis of the limb. This study highlights the importance of increasing awareness, improving prevention, and treatment of melanoma-related limb lymphoedema.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa oncologica
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)779-784
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

    Research areas

  • extremities, lymph node excision, lymphoedema, Melanoma, risk factors, Skin Neoplasms/surgery, Cross-Sectional Studies, Lymph Node Excision/adverse effects, Humans, Lymphatic Metastasis, Melanoma/complications, Lymphedema/epidemiology, Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy/adverse effects

ID: 66208670