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Treatment of Recurrent Melanoma

Treatment of recurrent melanoma depends on the stage of the original melanoma, the initial treatment, and the type of recurrence.


Isolated Local Recurrence

In this case, a single melanoma reappears in the area of the original tumor. Recommended treatment depends on the site(s) of recurrence, as shown below.


Site of Recurrence
Recommended Treatment
At the site of the original surgical scar
Reexcise the site
1 in-transit lesion
Reexcise the site to a negative surgical margin
More than 1 in-transit lesion
Immunotherapy, systemic chemotherapy, or regional chemotherapy with isolated limb perfusion


Lymph Node Recurrence

In this case, recurrence is confined to the regional basin of the original lymph node. Recommended treatment depends on the type of previous treatment, as shown below.


Previous Treatment
Recommended Treatment
No previous lymph node dissection Therapeutic lymph node dissection
Sentinel lymph node mapping or sentinel lymph node biopsy Therapeutic lymph node dissection
Therapeutic lymph node dissection or elective lymph node dissection Excise lymph node recurrence to negative surgical margins


Distant Recurrence

Treated the same way as stage IV melanoma, including surgery, radiation therapy, and/or systemic therapies.


About Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies to evaluate new therapies and improve cancer care. These studies are responsible for most of the advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. If you have melanoma, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial.


For more on clinical trials click here.