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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2018 October;153(5):707-15

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-0488.18.05924-2


language: English

Pediatric melanoma update

Lindsay MCCORMACK 1, Elena B. HAWRYLUK 2

1 University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 2 Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA


Pediatric melanoma is a rare disease that affects approximately 6 out of every one million children and accounts for 1-4% of all melanomas. This article reviews the epidemiology, etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of pediatric melanoma - with particular attention to recent updates in the literature. While awareness of melanoma increases among the general population, recent data suggest stable and even declining incidence rates among certain pediatric populations. Studies have examined clinical features and presentations of melanoma among the pediatric population and the conventional ABCDE criteria (asymmetrical shape, border, color, diameter, evolving lesion) used to diagnosis adult melanoma may not be entirely appropriate for pediatric melanoma; as such, additional pediatric-ABCD and CUP criteria (color changing, ulceration, pyogenic granuloma-like lesions) have been proposed. Dermoscopy serves as a valuable tool to detect suggestive patterns among pediatric skin lesions, and aids in the monitoring of skin lesions and detection of melanoma among children and adolescents. The etiology and pathogenesis of the pediatric melanoma is currently being investigated; studies have examined the genetic alterations that may be involved with the development of pediatric melanomas including TERT promoter, BRAF, and NRAS among others. While genetic testing using molecular techniques such as comparative genomic hybridization and fluorescence in-situ hybridization is helpful for diagnosis in certain contexts, molecular workup is not considered standard of care among pediatric melanoma cases, and in fact has not been proven to reliably distinguish between benign and malignant spitzoid tumors in children. Our growing understanding of melanoma has informed treatment decisions regarding management of positive sentinel lymph nodes, use of adjuvant therapy, and use of immunotherapy in treatment plans.

KEY WORDS: Melanoma - Skin neoplasms - Child - Diagnosis - Mutation

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