Evaluation of 39 cases of pediatric cutaneous head and neck melanoma.
BACKGROUND: Studies examining head and neck (H&N) melanoma in the pediatric population are scarce. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study is to describe pediatric H&N melanoma with the intent of increasing understanding of the course of disease. METHODS: The Duke Melanoma Database and Duke Tumor Registry Database were searched for patients with a diagnosis of melanoma occurring on the H&N before age 18 years, with exclusion of ocular/mucosal/aerodigestive melanomas. RESULTS: Queries yielded 39 Caucasian pediatric patients, 24 (61.5%) of them male. The mean age at diagnosis was 14.2 years (15 years, median). The primary sites were represented as follows: cutaneous auricular (1/39, 2.6%), facial (15/39, 38.5%), and scalp/neck (23/39, 59%). The follow-up time ranged from 2 months to 23 years with a median of 9.9 years (95% confidence interval: 6.2-13 years). At the time of follow-up, there were 12 (12/39, 30.8%) melanoma-associated deaths. The anatomic distribution of primary melanoma for these 12 patients follows: 4 (33.3%) facial and 8 (66.7%) scalp/neck. Histologic data revealed 24 (61.5%) tumors classified as superficial spreading melanoma with nodular melanoma (12.8%) a distant second. The mean Breslow depth for patients with melanoma-related mortality was 2.4 mm, compared with 1.8 mm for those who were alive at last follow-up. LIMITATIONS: Small sample size limited this study. CONCLUSION: This study found that the majority (59%) of H&N melanomas presented as scalp or neck lesions with a predilection for adolescents and boys. Those who experienced melanoma-related mortality had thicker lesions. Superficial spreading melanoma was the most common subtype.
Tcheung, WJ; Marcello, JE; Puri, PK; Abernethy, AP; Nelson, KC
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