Geographic variation in utilization of sentinel lymph node biopsy for intermediate thickness cutaneous melanoma

Steve R. Martinez, Dhruvil R. Shah, Emanual Michael Maverakis, Anthony D. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is the standard for evaluation of the draining lymphatic basin for intermediate thickness melanoma. Despite this, SLNB has not been uniformly adopted. We hypothesized that there are geographic areas of the United States where patients are less likely to receive SLNB. Methods The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database was queried for patients who underwent surgery for intermediate thickness cutaneous melanoma (Breslow thickness 1.00-4.00 mm) from 2004 to 2008. Patients were categorized according to geographic area based on the reporting registry. Multivariate logistic regression models predicted use of SLNB. Results Entry criteria were met by 8,957 patients. On multivariate analysis, patients from the South were less likely (OR 0.54, CI 0.48-0.62; P < 0.001) to receive a SLNB. Additional factors associated with a decreased likelihood of receiving a SLNB included head and neck primary tumor site, high or unknown serum LDH, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or unknown race, and increasing age. Conclusions Patients from the South were less likely to receive a SLNB for an intermediate thickness cutaneous melanoma. This report of geographic disparities on a national level should be confirmed locally to better guide interventions aimed at eliminating these disparities. J. Surg. Oncol. 2012; 106:807-810. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-810
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • disparities
  • geography
  • melanoma
  • sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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