Systemic Therapy in Advanced Nodular Melanoma versus Superficial Spreading Melanoma: A Nation-Wide Study of the Dutch Melanoma Treatment Registry.


Nodular melanoma (NM) is associated with a higher locoregional and distant recurrence rate compared with superficial spreading melanoma (SSM); it is unknown whether the efficacy of systemic therapy is limited. Here, we compare the efficacy of immunotherapy and BRAF/MEK inhibitors (BRAF/MEKi) in advanced NM to SSM. Patients with advanced stage IIIc and stage IV NM and SSM treated with anti-CTLA-4 and/or anti-PD-1, or BRAF/MEKi in the first line, were included from the prospective Dutch Melanoma Treatment Registry. The primary objectives were distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) and overall survival (OS). In total, 1086 NM and 2246 SSM patients were included. DMFS was significantly shorter for advanced NM patients at 1.9 years (CI 95% 0.7-4.2) compared with SSM patients at 3.1 years (CI 95% 1.3-6.2) (p < 0.01). Multivariate survival analysis for immunotherapy and BRAF/MEKi demonstrated a hazard ratio for immunotherapy of 1.0 (CI 95% 0.85-1.17) and BRAF/MEKi of 0.95 (CI 95% 0.81-1.11). A shorter DMFS for NM patients developing advanced disease compared with SSM patients was observed, while no difference was observed in the efficacy of systemic immunotherapy or BRAF/MEKi between NM and SSM patients. Our results suggests that the worse overall survival of NM is mainly driven by propensity of metastatic outgrowth of NM after primary diagnosis.

More about this publication

  • Volume 14
  • Issue nr. 22
  • Publication date 19-11-2022

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