Management of cutaneous melanoma: update on current treatment from surgical perspective


  • Muhammad Salman Department of General Surgery, St. Bernard’s Hospital, Gibraltar, British Overseas Territories
  • Christina Meccano Department of General Surgery, St. Bernard’s Hospital, Gibraltar, British Overseas Territories
  • Mehwish Salman Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic



Melanoma, Sentinel lymph node, Lymph node dissection, Adjuvant therapy, Immunotherapy, BRAF mutation


Incidence and mortality rate of cutaneous melanoma substantially varies across the globe depending upon early detection and management. Therapeutic developments have revolutionized the treatment. The aim of this paper is to discuss the treatment options for localized and advanced disease in the context of surgery, adjuvant, and neoadjuvant treatment. PubMed, Medline, Guidelines of European Society of Medical Oncology, National Institute of Clinical Excellence, American Joint Committee on Cancer on Melanoma, publications from 2012-2022 were searched. Low risk node negative disease (stage I and IIA) melanoma patients should have curative surgical wide local excision along with SLNB with no adjuvant therapy. High risk node negative disease (stage IIB and IIC) should be treated with curative surgery and SLNB followed by adjuvant immunotherapy. Low risk node positive disease (stage IIIA) surgical resection with SLNB followed by adjuvant systemic therapy, depending upon BRAF mutation status of tumour. High risk node positive microscopic disease (stage IIIB, IIIC, IIID) BRAF V600 mutation, primary resection with SLNB followed by nivolumab or combination of BRAF + MEK inhibitors. For BRAF wild-type tumours, adjuvant immunotherapy with programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) inhibitor. Patient with macroscopic disease that is resectable neoadjuvant combination immunotherapy followed by surgery with lymph node dissection. Metastatic disease (stage IV) regardless, adjuvant combination immunotherapy followed by maintenance nivolumab. Surgical excision is the treatment of choice for most patients with loco regional cutaneous melanoma and is curative in most cases. Checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies are important advances in adjuvant, neo adjuvant settings. Despite all the progress, melanoma remains challenging to treat.


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