Although rates of pediatric melanoma have been more frequent among White female patients, there has been a decreasing trend of cases over time. These findings were published in Pediatric Dermatology.

Much of the data about trends of melanoma in children have been sourced from single center, registry data. In order to better understand more complete real-world trends, researchers from Northwestern University analyzed data collected from 2004 to 2016 by the National Cancer Database.

During the study period, a total of 1903 cases of pediatric melanoma were recorded. Patients were 54.4% female, the mean age was 12.4 years, and 89.8% were White. Melanomas were stage 1 (46.9%), stage 2 (15.7%), stage 3 (25.5%), and stage 4 (2.0%) found in the trunk (31.1%), lower extremities (24.9%), head and neck (24.8%), and upper extremities (19.2%).

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Stratified by gender, boys more frequently had melanomas of the trunk (30.4% vs 20.1%) and fewer had tumors of the upper extremities (18.8% vs 29.9%). Nodular tumors were more common among boys (20.9% vs 15.7%) and superficial spreading tumors were less common (53.5% vs 64.0%).

Stratified by age, boys had more tumors diagnosed between ages 13 to 15 and girls had more between 16 to 17 years of age. Among all patients, younger children (<12 years) more frequently had nodular (28.5% vs 14.0%) or epithelioid and spindle cell tumors (16.2% vs 4.1%) and less likely to have superficial spreading tumors (34.4% vs 69.0%) compared with children aged 12 to 17.

The number of cases peaked in 2005 (201 patients) and were lowest in 2016 (122 patients) with an overall significant trend of decreased diagnoses (Spearman’s ρ = −0.795; P =.001).

This study was limited by only having access to clinical data about staging, tumor location, and overall survival.


Yousif R, Boull C, Gerami P, Nardone B, Vivar KL, Liszewski W. THE demographics and trends in pediatric melanoma in the United States: An analysis of the National Cancer Database. Pediatr Dermatol. Published online July 11, 2021. doi:10.1111/pde.14672

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor