From the Journals

Melanoma in young children may be biologically distinct from that in teens

 

Key clinical point: Young children with melanoma may present with different subtypes than adolescents do and are less likely to die from the cancers.

Major finding: Significantly more children than adolescents had spitzoid melanoma (50% vs. 10%, P = .01).

Study details: A retrospective cohort study of 32 children and adolescents with melanoma.

Disclosures: The study was supported by the Alpha Omega Alpha–Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship and the Society for Pediatric Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Source: Bartenstein DW et al. Pediatr Dermatol. 2018 Mar 23. doi: 10.1111/pde.13454.


 

FROM PEDIATRIC DERMATOLOGY

Pediatric melanomas appear to be more progressive in adolescents than in young children, based on data from a retrospective study of 32 cases.

Few young children with melanoma die, despite a greater likelihood of thicker tumors, lymph node metastasis, and later diagnosis, which suggests that melanoma in young children may be biologically distinct from melanoma in adolescents, wrote Diana W. Bartenstein, of Harvard University Medical School, Boston, and her colleagues.

Melanoma cells are shown. Dlumen/Thinkstock
In a study published in Pediatric Dermatology, the researchers reviewed data from 12 children younger than 11 years and 20 adolescents aged 11-19 years diagnosed with melanoma who were seen at a single center between Jan. 1, 1995, and Dec. 21, 2016. The children ranged in age from 3.3 to 19.5 years.

Overall, significantly more children than adolescents had spitzoid melanoma (50% vs. 10%, P = .01). In addition, children were more likely than adolescents to present with stage 3 or 4 cancer (58% vs. 25%) and with Clark level IV and V tumors (42% vs. 35%), although these differences were not significant. The median Breslow thickness of lesions was greater in children than in adolescents (3.5 mm vs. 1.5 mm) as was the median mitotic index (5 mitotic figures per mm2 vs. 2 mitotic figures per mm2) and children were more likely than adolescents to have neural invasion, but these differences were not significant either.

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