The MELFO-Study: Prospective, Randomized, Clinical Trial for the Evaluation of a Stage-adjusted Reduced Follow-up Schedule in Cutaneous Melanoma Patients-Results after 1 Year

Samantha Damude, Josette E. H. M. Hoekstra-Weebers, Anne Brecht Francken, Sylvia ter Meulen, Esther Bastiaannet, Harald J. Hoekstra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Guidelines for evidence-based follow-up in melanoma patients are not available. This study examined whether a reduced follow-up schedule affects: patient-reported outcome measures, detection of recurrences, and follow-up costs.

This multicenter trial included 180 patients treated for AJCC stage IB-II cutaneous melanoma, who were randomized in a conventional follow-up schedule group (CSG, 4 visits first year, n = 93) or experimental follow-up schedule group (ESG, 1-3 visits first year, n = 87). Patients completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, cancer worry scale, impact of events scale, and a health-related quality of life questionnaire (HRQoL, RAND-36). Physicians registered clinicopathologic features and the number of outpatient clinic visits.

Sociodemographic and illness-related characteristics were equal in both groups. After 1-year follow-up, the ESG reported significantly less cancer-related stress response symptoms than the CSG (p = 0.01), and comparable anxiety, mental HRQoL, and cancer-related worry. Mean cancer-related worry and stress response symptoms decreased over time (p <0.001), whereas mental HRQoL increased over time (p <0.001) in all melanoma patients. Recurrence rate was 9 % in both groups, mostly patient-detected and not physician-detected (CSG 63 %, ESG 43 %, p = 0.45). Hospital costs of 1-year follow-up were reduced by 45 % in the ESG compared to the CSG.

This study shows that the stage-adjusted, reduced follow-up schedule did not negatively affect melanoma patients' mental well-being and the detection of recurrences compared with conventional follow-up as dictated by the Dutch guideline, at 1 year after diagnosis. Additionally, reduced follow-up was associated with significant hospital cost reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2762-2771
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Volume23
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2016

Keywords

  • MALIGNANT-MELANOMA
  • GUIDELINES
  • RECOMMENDATIONS
  • SURVEILLANCE
  • RECURRENCE
  • TRENDS

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