Melanoma Coverage from Every Angle

Rate of Pediatric Melanoma in Melanoma-Prone Families

By: Susan Reckling
Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2018

A diagnosis of melanoma is typically rare in individuals younger than age 20. However, “the occurrence of pediatric melanoma is significantly increased in melanoma-prone families, with and without CDKN2A mutations, compared with the general population of melanoma patients in the United States,” according to Alisa M. Goldstein, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues. Based on these findings, which were published in the journal Cancer, these youngsters may benefit from careful sun protection from an early age and skin surveillance to reduce their risk of melanoma.

In this nonpopulation-based study, 60 families were followed prospectively for up to 40 years, and the families had at least 3 members with melanoma. Half of them tested positive for the CDKN2A mutation, and the other half tested negative for this mutation. More than 1,300 participants (those with melanoma, unaffected relatives, and spouses) were clinically evaluated.

Dr. Goldstein’s team identified 311 confirmed patients with melanoma, and 24 of them (7.7%) were diagnosed before age 20. The CDKN2A-negative families were found to have a 6-fold higher percentage of pediatric melanoma, whereas the CDKN2A-positive families were found to have a 28-fold higher percentage of pediatric melanoma. In addition, pediatric members of families who had this genetic mutation also were more likely to have multiple primary melanomas than their relatives diagnosed after age 20 (71% vs. 38%).

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