• We reviewed 231 patients who developed recurrent disease 1 to 218 months after surgical therapy for clinical stage I cutaneous melanoma. Metastatic lesions amenable to surgery, including visceral recurrences, were resected. Adjuvant systemic chemotherapy/immunotherapy or regional hyperthermic perfusion was added in patients with unresected disease. Local irradiation was employed for nonresectable brain or other isolated symptomatic metastases. The overall 5-year survival rate after initial recurrence was 36%. In patients with soft tissue or nodal recurrence, the 5-year survival rates were 49% and 38%, respectively; six (11%) of 53 patients whose initial recurrence was in a visceral organ achieved prolonged remission. Primary lesion anatomic site, thickness, pathologic type, and interval from initial therapy to recurrence were unrelated to survival. Significant prognostic factors included the site of initial metastasis, stage of primary disease, and the successful complete eradication of gross disease by surgical excision or intensive chemotherapy.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:703-708)