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Melanoma incidence rises for children and adolescents: An epidemiologic review of pediatric melanoma in the United States

Mary T. Austin, Yan Xing, Andrea A. Hayes-Jordan, Kevin P. Lally, Janice N. Cormier

Journal of Pediatric Surgery, Volume 48, Issue 11, November 2013, Pages 2207–2213

Abstract

Background/Purpose
This study was conducted to determine the influence of age on disease presentation and evaluate the change in pediatric melanoma incidence between 1998 and 2007.

Methods
We performed a retrospective review of all children ≤ 18 years with cutaneous melanoma who were included in the 2007 National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database between 1988 and 2007.

Results
We identified a total of 1447 patients with cutaneous melanoma. The overall average annual melanoma incidence was 5.4 per 1 million children and adolescents in the U.S., which increased throughout the study period. Most patients (89%) were at least 10 years of age (average age 15 years). Melanoma in situ (21%), thin (< 1 mm) lesions (37%), stage I disease (46%), and superficial spreading histology (25%) were common at presentation. Only 1% of patients presented with distant metastases. Preadolescents younger than age 10 were ethnically more diverse and more likely to present with non-truncal primaries and advanced disease (P < .01) compared to adolescents.

Conclusions
The incidence of pediatric melanoma in the U.S. is increasing. There are significant differences between children and adolescents which suggest age-based inherent differences in the biology of the disease may exist.