• In 1,283 patients with cutaneous stage I malignant melanoma who had ten or more years of follow-up, the incidence of late recurrence (first evidence of metastases occurring ten or more years after melanoma diagnosis) was 2.7%. None of the factors of prognostic importance (anatomic site, tumor thickness, ulcerative state of primary lesion, or initial surgical treatment) proved useful in predicting those patients with late recurrence. There was no sex or age difference in either incidence of late recurrence or prognosis subsequent to recurrence. Prognosis subsequent to late recurrence depended on the site of the recurrence. Survival after distant metastases became evident was extremely short. However, in the majority (53%) of patients, late recurrence was local and survival subsequent to treatment of these metastases was often protracted, emphasizing the importance of long-term follow-up in all patients with cutaneous melanoma.
(Arch Surg 1985;120:1155-1159)