[4 min read] Paediatric melanoma in melanoma‐prone families

Did you know that only around 0.4 per cent of all melanomas in the US are diagnosed in patients aged under 20 years? Melanoma in children from melanoma-prone families has not been fully investigated, so a recent study evaluated paediatric patients with melanoma with extensive follow‐up in melanoma‐prone families with and without cyclin‐dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A) mutations.

For this non‐population‐based study, families were followed prospectively for up to 40 years. A total of 60 families with up to three patients with melanoma were included for analysis: 30 CDKN2A mutation‐positive (CDKN2A+) and 30 CDKN2A mutation‐negative (CDKN2A‐) families. Age at the time of first melanoma and number of melanomas were obtained for each patient.

Regardless of CDKN2A status, melanoma‐prone families were found to have six‐fold to 28‐fold higher percentages of patients with paediatric melanoma compared with the general population of patients with melanoma in the United States.

Within CDKN2A + families, paediatric patients with melanoma were significantly more likely to have multiple melanomas compared with their relatives who were diagnosed after the age of 20 years (71% vs 38%, respectively; P = .004). CDKN2A + families had significantly higher percentages of paediatric patients with melanoma compared with CDKN2A‐ families (11.1% vs 2.5%; P = .004).

These observations have implications for the prevention of melanoma as well as clinical care for its early detection. Children in melanoma‐prone families should have careful sun protection from an early age and skin surveillance to reduce their risk of melanoma.

Read more recent melanoma research.

Source: Goldstein, A. M., Stidd, K. C., Yang, X. R., Fraser, M. C. and Tucker, M. A. (2018), Pediatric melanoma in melanoma‐prone families. Cancer, 124: 3715-3723. doi:10.1002/cncr.31641

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