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Childhood Cancer Survivors at Higher Risk for Melanoma Risk



Major Finding: The cumulative incidence of a first subsequent melanoma was 0.52% at 35 years from initial cancer.

Data Source: Retrospective analysis of 14,358 5-year childhood cancer survivors.

Disclosures: The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study is funded by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Pappo, his coauthors, and Dr. Strong reported no relevant conflicts of interest.

CHICAGO – Survivors of childhood cancer have a nearly threefold increased risk of melanoma, compared with the general population, according to an analysis of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

Among 14,358 5-year survivors, the cumulative incidence of a subsequent melanoma was 0.52% at 35 years from their initial cancer. The standard incidence ratio for subsequent melanoma was 2.83 and excess absolute risk 0.11/1,000 person-years.

Dr. Alberto Pappo



"Although the cumulative incidence is low, this is potentially a significant problem," lead author Dr. Alberto Pappo said at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. "Our findings justify increased awareness and the need for improved adherence to recommended surveillance guidelines in childhood cancer survivors."

Dr. Pappo said the analysis was sparked by a report last year from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study showing that 5-year survivors had an increased cumulative incidence of subsequent neoplasms (20.5%) as well as second malignant neoplasms (8%) (J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 2010 Jul 21;102:1083-95).

The 14,358 patients in the current analysis were diagnosed with childhood cancer between 1970 and 1986, and compared with participants in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Median follow-up was 24 years.

In all, 53 survivors developed 59 melanomas, said Dr. Pappo, director of the solid tumor division at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis. Among them, two patients had ocular melanoma, nine had in situ disease and two had other secondary malignancies before the diagnosis of melanoma. Five patients developed two or more melanomas, he pointed out.

The median age at the time of melanoma diagnosis was 32 years, and median time for tumor development 20.7 years. At the time of the analysis, 43 of the 53 patients (81%) were still alive. Four patients died of melanoma.

Among the 53 melanoma patients, primary diagnoses included acute lymphoblastic leukemia (15), lymphoma (14), bone/soft tissue (15), brain (5), Wilms’ tumor (3), and neuroblastoma (1).

The cumulative incidence of melanoma ranged from 0.29% for a primary diagnosis of brain cancer to 0.87% for survivors of soft tissue and bone sarcoma. The incidence was 0.43% for childhood leukemia and 0.55% for lymphoma.

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