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ASTRO: Radiotherapy Found to Be Beneficial in Melanoma

Radiation after lymphadectomy significantly reduces relapse rate in high-risk patients

MONDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In melanoma patients at high risk of regional relapse after lymphadenectomy, adjuvant radiotherapy may significantly improve regional control, according to research presented this week at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Nov. 1 to 5 in Chicago.

Bryan Burmeister, M.D., of Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues randomly assigned 217 patients to receive either radiation treatment within 12 weeks after surgery or standard observation, and then followed them for a median of 27 months.

The researchers found that the relapse rate was significantly lower in the radiotherapy group compared to the observation group (19 versus 31 percent); however, they also found that radiotherapy had no statistically significant effect on survival. Median survival times were 31 months in the radiotherapy group compared to 47 months in the observation group.

"Results of this trial now confirm the place of radiation therapy in the management of patients who have high risk features following surgery for melanoma involving the lymph nodes," Burmeister said in a statement.

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