Incidence, Site of Pediatric Melanoma Different Among Male and Female Adolescents and Young Adults

A clinician counsels a young patient on best health habits.
A clinician counsels a young patient on best health habits.
Researchers in Colorado reviewed data on melanoma in pediatric patients 10 to 19 years, finding sex-specific differences in anatomic site and incidence of the disease.

Incidence of melanoma is higher in girls than boys between the ages of 10 and 19 years, according to results of a retrospective study published in Pediatric Dermatology.

A diagnosis of melanoma is rare in patients younger than 20 years, and these patients represent only approximately 1% of reported melanoma cases in the United States.

This retrospective study involved a comparison of the melanoma incidence, anatomic site, and presenting age for female and male patients aged 19 years or younger included in the Colorado Central Cancer Registry database between 1988 and 2015.   

The overall cohort comprised 256 cases of invasive and in situ melanoma: 160 (62.5%) in female patients and 96 (37.5%) in male patients. Mean age of onset was 16 years for both girls and boys. Interestingly, incidence among this population increased between 1988 and 1999, but appeared to decline between 2001 and 2011.

Incidence also increased with increasing age in both girls and boys but was more pronounced among girls than among boys in the 10 to 14 (P=.0477) and 15 to 19 (P =.0472) age groups. No cases of melanoma were diagnosed in patients younger than 5.

The trunk was the most common location for melanoma in both girls and boys; however, lesions on the lower extremities were more likely in girls (P.0049) and lesions on the head and neck were more common in boys (P=.0523).

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The authors conclude that “[f]urther investigation of causes of sex-specific differences in pediatric melanoma is warranted to facilitate prevention and early intervention.”

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KalaniN, Guidry JA, Farahi JM, Stewart SB, Dellavalle RP, Dunnick CA. Pediatric melanoma: characterizing 256 cases from the Colorado Central Cancer Registry[published online February 22, 2019]. Pediatr Dermatol. doi: 10.1111/pde.13747

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor