Detection of melanoma relapse: first comparative analysis on imaging techniques versus S100 protein

Dermatology. 2006;213(3):187-91. doi: 10.1159/000095034.


Background: Early detection of melanoma recurrence is essential for the patient's prognosis. The serum S100 level may be a useful tool to detect relapse early.

Objective: To compare the efficacy of imaging techniques and serum S100 in the early detection of melanoma progression. This is the first report of a comparison of a serum marker with an imaging tool in the follow-up of melanoma patients.

Methods: From 1992 to 2003, we screened 192 patients suffering from melanoma recurrence after a disease-free interval. Of those, 127 patients were identified whose S100 levels had been assessed parallel to imaging procedures.

Results: Serum S100 was elevated in 37% of patients at the time of relapse. In stage III, 32% of the patients had elevated S100 levels whereas in case of progression to stage IV, 48% of the patients presented with increased S100. In 5.5% of patients, S100 was the first indicator of disease progression. Imaging procedures lead to detection of melanoma recurrence in 26.8%.

Conclusion: A rising level of serum S100 is a specific and sensitive marker of melanoma progression.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Melanoma / blood
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / blood
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • S100 Proteins / blood*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Neoplasms / blood
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • S100 Proteins