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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2013 December;148(6):667-72


language: English

Melanoma in patients younger than 20 years

Sanlorenzo M. 1, Ribero S. 1, 2, Osella-Abate S. 1, Balagna E. M. 2, Caliendo V. 2, Macripò G. 2, Bernengo M. G. 1, Quaglino P. 1

1 Department of Medical Sciences, Dermatologic Clinic University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Section of Dermatologic Surgery Department of Oncology and Ematology AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin, Italy


Aim: Melanoma is rare in children and uncommon in adolescents. Clinical and prognostic factors can differ from adult population. There is often a delay in diagnosis and the therapeutic management is not unequivocally established. The aim of this study was to review our monocentric case series to establish the characteristics of the population and the possible different behaviour of the malignancy compared to adults.
Methods: From 1975 to 2011 we selected 36 out of 43 patients with a diagnosis of melanoma before the age of 20. We reported a female predominance, the most common site of primary lesions for both sexes were the lower extremities and according to adulthood population the most common histotype was Superficial Spreading Melanoma.
Results: None of our patients presented distant metastasis at diagnosis, but 29.4% showed a progression, and the 17.6% died during the follow-up. A significant difference based on gender was found at the multivariate analysis on Disease free survival as well as Breslow thickness, but only Breslow thickness was the only parameter that maintained a role on survival at multivariate analysis when corrected for gender and age. We performed the sentinel lymph node biopsy in 3 patients and they all resulted negative.
Conclusion: Despite our small case series we observed some important differences of melanoma in children compared to adults. It remains difficult to establish the prognostic factors in younger melanoma patients. Similar to adults, the detection of melanoma in an early phase of development, with a low Breslow thickness, is the most important prognostic factor.

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