What is the cure rate for melanoma

Black skin cancer life expectancy and chances of recovery

The prognosis provides information about the likely course of the cancer. In order to be able to assess the further development of a melanoma, doctors determine various prognostic factors [3]:

  • Tumor thickness according to Breslow
  • Subtype of tumor
  • Age of onset
  • gender
  • Tumor markers
  • Organs affected by distant metastases

Tumor thickness according to Breslow

According to the S3 guideline of the medical societies, the tumor thickness according to Breslow ("Breslow level") is the most important prognostic factor in black skin cancer [4]. It is determined after the tumor has been surgically removed and indicates the extent or depth of penetration of the melanoma.

T classificationTumor thickness
Txnot specified
T1≤ 1.0 mm
T21.01-2.0 mm
T32.01-4.0 mm
T4> 4.00 mm

Source: table according to [4]

With a very small tumor thickness of less than 0.75 millimeters, the chance of a cure for the melanoma is around 90 percent.

The following applies: ever larger the size of the tumor, the more the probable course of the disease is worse.

Subtype of tumor

Even the histological one Determination of tumor cells gives information about the likely course of the disease.

Did the diagnostics show that the skin cancer is a nodular melanoma, acral localized or an amelanotic melanoma the prognosis may be worse than for the other forms of malignant melanoma.

The nodular melanoma has of all subtypes the worst prognosis


The cancer registry data show that men have a slightly lower five-year survival rate than women [1].

Tumor markers

Tumor markers are substances that can be detected in the blood of cancer patients. In the case of malignant melanoma, it is mainly those who play both markers lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and S100B a role.

Their values ​​are mainly measured in late stage IV. If they are increased, this worsens the prognosis.

Distant metastases

Has spread a malignant melanoma and already Metastases in other organs the chances of recovery are low. Metastases in the lungs, liver, abdomen or brain (“visceral metastases”) are more critical for the course of the disease than metastases on the skin. Still: The forecast in melanoma im Stage IV has changed because of the new treatment options dramatically improved