Little guidance is currently available for managing patients with melanocytic tumours of uncertain or low malignant potential (MelTUMPs, including melanocytomas), in particular the optimal excision margins and whether to offer sentinel node biopsy (SNB). The objective of this review was to evaluate excision margins and the prognostic utility of SNB by systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis. PRISMA guidelines were followed. Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched to October 2021 for studies of patients with MelTUMPs reporting excision margins and/or SNB-positivity. Meta-analysis was performed on the SNB-positivity rate using a random effects model, followed by sensitivity analyses on subgroups. 111 primary studies reported excision margins and/or SNB data for 1962 patients. Follow-up was available for 1649 patients: 1561 (94.7%) were alive without disease at last review, 53 (3.2%) had developed further disease, 29 (1.8%) had died of metastatic disease (melanoma) and six (0.4%) died of unrelated causes. SNB was performed in 837 patients. The pooled positivity rate on meta-analysis was 32% (95% CI: 23-44%). Clinical outcome could be correlated with excision margin in only 171 patients (60% of those with known follow up) and was therefore not analysed further. Evidence indicating the ideal excision margins for MelTUMPs was lacking. SNB had a high positivity rate despite very low rates of recurrence or melanoma-related death. Consequently, SNB should not be offered routinely for MelTUMPs (including melanocytomas), due to its lack of prognostic utility for this tumour type (high certainty of evidence).
© 2022 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.