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Evaluating the Risk of Secondary Primary Malignancy in Patients With Melanoma

By: Joshua D. Madera, MD
Posted: Friday, April 26, 2024

For patients with melanoma, the risk of developing a secondary primary malignancy is increased, according to a study presented at the 2024 American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) Annual Meeting (Poster 54566). Given these findings, close monitoring and surveillance for the development of subsequent cancers should be implemented in this patient population, suggested Neda Nikbakht, MD, PhD, of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, and colleagues.

A total of 283,435 patients with primary melanoma were recruited from the SEER-17 cancer registries. All patients were diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2020. The initial melanoma diagnosis was documented and defined as the initial date from which the outcome latency was calculated. Patients were monitored to determine whether a secondary primary malignancy developed.

The study findings showed evidence of a secondary primary malignancy in 16.3% of patients. The risk of developing any secondary cancer was significantly increased in this patient population (57.0%) compared with the general population (standardized incidence ratio [SIR] = 1.57). In addition, the most common anatomic location associated with an increased risk of developing a secondary primary malignancy was the head and neck region.

Furthermore, a significantly positive correlation was identified between the initial tumor thickness and the SIR. An initial tumor thickness between 0.0 mm and 0.1 mm was associated with an increased risk of developing any type of secondary primary malignancy (SIR = 1.56) and cutaneous melanoma (SIR = 8.92). Similarly, an initial tumor thickness greater than 4.0 mm was also found to be associated with an increased risk of secondary primary malignancy (SIR = 2.45) and cutaneous melanoma (SIR = 16.31).

The investigators acknowledged that their study is limited by its retrospective nature and potential sampling errors. However, future studies should explore the long-term complications faced by survivors of melanoma.

Disclosure: Disclosure information for the study authors was not provided.

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