Maia K. Erickson reported in a poster at the virtual annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.
These are often aggressive malignancies. The 5-year survival following diagnosis of vulvar melanoma in women aged 60 years or older was 39.7%, compared with 61.9% in younger women, according to Ms. Erickson, a visiting research fellow in the department of dermatology at Northwestern University, Chicago.
She presented a population-based study of epidemiologic trends in vulvar melanoma based upon analysis of the National Cancer Institute’sdatabase. Vulvar melanoma was rare during the study years 2000-2016, with an overall incidence rate of 0.1 cases per 100,000 women. That worked out to 746 analyzable cases. Of note, the incidence rate ratio was 680% higher in older women (age 60 and older).
One reason for the markedly worse 5-year survival in older women was that the predominant histologic subtype of vulvar melanoma in that population was nodular melanoma, accounting for 48% of the cases where a histologic subtype was specified. In contrast, the less-aggressive superficial spreading melanoma subtype prevailed in patients aged under 60 years, accounting for 63% of cases.
About 93% of vulvar melanomas occurred in whites; 63% were local and 8.7% were metastatic.
Ms. Erickson noted that the vulva is the most common site for gynecologic tract melanomas, accounting for 70% of them. And while the female genitalia make up only 1%-2% of body surface area, that’s the anatomic site of up to 7% of all melanomas in women.
She reported having no financial conflicts regarding her study.