Is Race Associated With Clinical Differences in Melanoma?

Source: Cancer Network, June 2019

Clinically relevant differences are present in nonwhite vs white children, adolescents, and young adults diagnosed with melanoma and atypical melanocytic neoplasms, according to the results of a long-term prospective study published in Pediatric Dermatology.

“Atypical melanocytic lesions and melanoma are challenging to diagnose. Fortunately, they are rare, but rarity contributes to the challenges in diagnosis and management,” said Carrie C. Coughlin, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Washington University School of Medicine’s Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, during an interview with Cancer Network. “This series of 55 patients with detailed clinical descriptions and histologic data, as well as stratification between white and nonwhite patients, contributes greatly to the literature.”

Subjects included in the current study were younger than age 25 years and were followed 1995 to 2018. The researchers assessed for differences in clinical presentation, including the following: skin phototype, race/ethnicity, age, sex, tumor/melanoma characteristics, and outcome. In total, 17 of 55 patients were nonwhite (skin phototype IV; 9 men), including Asians, Hispanics, or blacks. Median follow-up was 36 months.

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