Prognostic significance of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in melanoma

Alison L. Burton, Brent A. Roach, Michael P. Mays, Andrea F. Chen, Brooke A.R. Ginter, Abbey M. Vierling, Charles R. Scoggins, Robert C.G. Martin, Arnold J. Stromberg, Lee Hagendoorn, Kelly M. McMasters

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84 Scopus citations


The prognostic significance of tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) response in cutaneous melanoma is controversial. This analysis of data from a prospective, randomized trial included patients with cutaneous melanoma ≥ 1.0 mm Breslow thickness who underwent wide local excision and sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine factors associated with TIL response, disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS). A total of 515 patients were included; TIL response was classified as "brisk" (n = 100; 19.4%) or "non-brisk" (n = 415; 80.6%). Patients in the nonbrisk TIL group were more likely to have tumor-positive SLN (17.6% vs 7%; P = 0.0087). On multivariate analysis, nonbrisk TIL response, increased tumor thickness, and ulceration were significant independent predictors of tumorpositive SLN. By Kaplan-Meier analysis, 5-year DFS rate was 91 per cent for those with a brisk TIL response compared with 86 per cent in the nonbrisk group (P = 0.41). The 5-year OS rates were 95 per cent versus 84 per cent in the brisk versus nonbrisk TIL groups, respectively (P = 0.0083). However, on multivariate analysis, TIL response was not a significant independent factor predicting DFS or OS. TIL response is a significant predictor of SLN metastasis but is not a major predictor of DFS or OS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-192
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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