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Cutaneous melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer, with high death rates in advanced stages. To assess the impact of each treatment on patient outcomes, most studies use relapse-free survival (RFS) as a primary endpoint and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) as a secondary endpoint. The aim of this narrative review of the main adjuvant studies for resected stage III/IV melanoma, with a specific focus on DMFS, is to evaluate DMFS trends and their potential association with RFS, identify which treatments are possibly associated with better outcomes in terms of DMFS and their potential predictive factors, and discuss DMFS trends in terms of patient management in daily practice. We outline the impact of each available treatment option on DMFS and RFS according to the years of follow-up and compare data from different studies. Overall, the trends of DMFS closely follow those of RFS, with most patients relapsing at visceral rather than regional sites. As it captures the burden of patients who develop distant relapse, DMFS could be considered a primary endpoint, in addition to RFS, in adjuvant trials, identifying patients whose relapse is associated with a worse prognosis and who may need further systemic treatment.


Simone Amabile, Gabriele Roccuzzo, Valentina Pala, Luca Tonella, Marco Rubatto, Martina Merli, Paolo Fava, Simone Ribero, Maria Teresa Fierro, Paola Queirolo, Pietro Quaglino. Clinical Significance of Distant Metastasis-Free Survival (DMFS) in Melanoma: A Narrative Review from Adjuvant Clinical Trials. Journal of clinical medicine. 2021 Nov 23;10(23)

PMID: 34884176

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