Objectives: Recurrence may most likely develop during the course of the disease in patients presented with early stage melanoma at initial diagnosis. The specific risk factors for early and late recurrences following definitive surgical excision have yet to be determined. The aim of this study was to analyze the early and late relapses in stage I-III cutaneous melanoma patients.Methods: Of 365 patients with relapses, 189 developed within the first 18months following surgical intervention (early relapse [ER]) and the remaining 176 occurred later (late relapse [LR]) were analyzed.Results: ER patients were found to have thicker and ulcerated lesions with higher mitotic rates and lymphovascular invasion, and they were found to be more significantly associated with node involvements. Nearly half of the first recurrences were locoregional (49.9%) that were followed by distant metastases alone (26.6%). The distribution of the initial relapse patterns was similar between the ER and the LR groups. The lung was the most frequently metastasized site (43.1%), and it was followed by bone (21.0%), liver (20.7%) and brain (15.1%). On multivariate analysis risk factors in association with both ER and LR were found as follows: ulcerated lesions, high mitotic rate, and node-positive disease; however nodular histopathological subtype and lymphovascular invasion were found to have impact merely on ER, and male gender merely on LR.Conclusion: The current study has detected potential risk factors for relapse of patients who developed ER and LR. These indicators may be useful for rational follow-up programs of the patients.