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Survival Rates High for Children, Teens With Melanoma

Primary tumor ulceration, head/neck location, and Breslow thickness >4 mm predict worse survival in teens

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Survival rates for children and adolescents with melanomas are high, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Mary-Ann El Sharouni, Ph.D., from the University of Sydney, and colleagues assessed clinicopathologic features and survival of 62 children (aged 11 years and younger) and 452 adolescents (aged 12 to 19 years) diagnosed with melanoma.

The researchers found that melanoma subtypes were conventional melanoma (superficial spreading, nodular, desmoplastic, and acral lentiginous; 428 patients), spitzoid melanoma (78 patients), and melanoma associated with a congenital nevus (eight patients). Ten-year recurrence-free survival (RFS) was similar in children (91.5 percent) and in adolescents (86.4 percent), as was 10-year overall survival (OS; 100 and 92.7 percent, respectively). In adolescents, ulceration status and anatomic site were associated with RFS and OS, while age, sex, mitotic index, sentinel node status, and melanoma subtype were not. Worse RFS was seen with Breslow thickness >4 mm.

“Our data suggest that adolescent melanomas are often similar to adult-type melanomas, whilst those which occur in young children frequently occur via different molecular mechanisms,” the authors write. “In the future it is likely that further understanding of these molecular mechanisms and ability to classify melanomas based on their molecular characteristics will assist in further refining prognostic estimates and [possibly] guiding treatment for young patients with melanoma.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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