American Society for Clinical Pathology

View all recommendations from this society

September 14, 2016

Do not routinely perform sentinel lymph node biopsy or other diagnostic tests for the evaluation of early, thin melanoma because these tests do not improve survival.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is a minimally invasive staging procedure developed to identify patients with subclinical nodal metastases at higher risk of occurrence, who could be candidates for complete lymph node dissection or adjuvant systemic therapy. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Melanoma Panel does not recommend SLNB for patients with in situ melanoma (stage 0). In general, the panel does not recommend SLNB for Stage 1A or 1B lesions that are very thin (0.75mm or less). In the rare event that a conventional high-risk feature is present, the decision about SLNB should be left to the patient and the treating physician.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1-5: The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) list was developed under the leadership of the chair of ASCP’s Institute Advisory Committee and Past President of ASCP. Subject matter and test utilization experts across the fields of pathology and laboratory medicine were included in this process for their expertise and guidance. The review panel examined hundreds of options based on both the practice of pathology and evidence available through an extensive review of the literature. The laboratory tests targeted in our recommendations were selected because they are tests that are performed frequently; there is evidence that the test either offers no benefit or is harmful; use of the test is costly and it does not provide higher quality care; and, eliminating it or changing to another test is within the control of the clinician. The final list is not exhaustive (many other tests/procedures were also identified and were also worthy of consideration), but the recommendations, if instituted, would result in higher quality care, lower costs, and more effective use of our laboratory resources and personnel.

6–10: The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) list of recommendations was developed under the leadership of the ASCP Choosing Wisely Ad Hoc Committee. This committee is chaired by an ASCP Past President and is comprised of subject matter and test utilization experts across the fields of pathology and laboratory medicine. The committee considered an initial list of possible recommendations compiled as the result of a survey administered to Society members serving on ASCP’s many commissions, committees and councils. The laboratory tests targeted in our recommendations were selected because they are tests that are performed frequently; there is evidence that the test either offers no benefit or is harmful; use of the test is costly and it does not provide higher quality care; and eliminating it or changing to another test is within the control of the clinician. Implementation of these recommendations will result in higher quality care, lower costs and a more effective use of our laboratory resources and personnel.

11–15: The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) list of recommendations was developed under the leadership of the ASCP Effective Test Utilization Subcommittee. This committee is chaired by an ASCP Past President and comprises subject matter and test utilization experts across the fields of pathology and laboratory medicine. The committee considered an initial list of possible recommendations compiled as the result of a survey administered to Society members serving on ASCP’s many commissions, committees, and councils. The laboratory tests targeted in our recommendations were selected because they are tests that are performed frequently; there is evidence that the test either offers no benefit or is harmful (either entirely or in specific clinical situations); use of the test is costly and it does not provide higher quality care; and eliminating it or changing to another test is within the control of the clinician. Implementation of these recommendations will result in higher quality care, lower costs, and a more effective use of our laboratory resources and personnel.

 

ASCP’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.ascp.org.

Sources

Bichakjian CK, Halpern AC, Johnson TM, Foote Hood A, Grichnik JM, Swetter SM, Tsao H, Barbosa VH, Chuang TY, Duvic M, Ho VC, Sober AJ, Beutner KR, Bhushan R, Smith Begolka W; American Academy of Dermatology. Guidelines of care for the management of primary cutaneous melanoma. American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Nov;65(5):1032–47.

American Joint Committee on Cancer. AJCC cancer staging manual. 7th ed. New York: Springer; 2010.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network. National Comprehensive Cancer Network clinical practice guidelines in oncology (NCCN Guidelines®): melanoma. (Version 3.2015).