• To determine the prognosis of patients with lymph node metastases from an unknown primary melanoma, we retrospectively reviewed the clinicopathologic features of 188 such patients treated from 1971 through 1986 and compared their records with those of patients with clinical stage II melanoma with known primary lesions. Patients with lymph node metastases from an unknown primary melanoma represented 4.6% of all patients with melanoma treated during that period. The five- and ten-year survival rates were 42% and 40%, respectively (median, 37 months). When stratified by number of tumor-containing lymph nodes, there was no significant difference in survival between patients with an unknown primary melanoma and lymph node metastases and those with clinical stage II melanoma and known primary sites. The prognosis of the former patients is no worse than that of patients with lymph node metastases from a known primary site and should be treated in a comparable manner.
(Arch Surg 1987;122:1380-1383)