Using clinical features to identify patients at high risk for melanoma

November 9, 2016

Can an individual's risk factors for melanoma be used to tailor skin self-examinations and surveillance programs? A new study published online by JAMA Dermatology suggests they could by identifying those patients at higher risk who may benefit from increased surveillance.

The incidence of melanoma that occurs on the skin is increasing in predominantly European populations and Australia's incidence is among the highest in the world.

Caroline G. Watts, M.P.H., of the University of Sydney, Australia, and coauthors examined clinical features associated with melanomas according to patient (many moles, history of previous melanoma and family history of melanoma) to improve the identification and treatment of those at higher risk.

The study included 2,727 with melanoma, of whom 1,052 (39 percent) were defined as higher risk because of family history, multiple primary melanomas or many moles. The most common risk factor in this group was having many moles, followed by a personal history and a family history.

The authors report the average age at diagnosis was younger for higher-risk patients (62 vs. 65 years) compared with those patients at lower risk because they did not have these risk factors. However, that age differed by risk factor: 56 years for patients with a family history, 59 years for those with many moles and 69 years for those with a previous melanoma.

Also, higher-risk patients with many were more likely to have melanoma on the trunk, those with a were more likely to have melanomas on the limbs, and those with a personal history were more likely to have on the head and neck.

Limitations of the study include risk factors based on physician recall and patient medical records. The authors also did not assess the reliability or validity of the risk factor data.

"The results of our study suggest that a person's risk factor status might be used to tailor their surveillance program in terms of starting age and education about skin self-examination or more intensive surveillance," the study concludes.

Explore further: Study of patients with melanoma finds most have few moles

More information: JAMA Dermatology. Published online November 9, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.3327

Related Stories

Study of patients with melanoma finds most have few moles

March 2, 2016
Most patients with melanoma had few moles and no atypical moles, and in patients younger than 60, thick melanomas were more commonly found in those with fewer moles but more atypical moles, according to an article published ...

Partners of patients with melanoma find new cancers with skin exam training

June 29, 2016
Skin-check partners of patients with melanoma effectively performed skin self-examinations and identified new melanomas as part of an effort to increase early detection of the skin cancer that can be fatal, according to the ...

People with few moles apt to develop deadlier skin cancer, study finds

August 20, 2015
(HealthDay)—People who have many moles are at increased risk for melanoma skin cancer, but people with fewer moles may be more likely to develop a more aggressive form of the disease, a new study suggests.

Moles can quadruple risk of developing melanoma

September 4, 2014
Having moles on your skin can quadruple your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, according to a study released this week by experts at the University of Melbourne, University of Oxford, and the ...

More than half of melanomas are self-detected

October 25, 2016
(HealthDay)—More than half of melanomas are self-detected, and more melanomas are self-detected by women than men, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Personal history of prostate cancer linked to melanoma risk

November 6, 2013
(HealthDay)—History of prostate cancer (PCa) is associated with an increased risk of melanoma, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Recommended for you

New findings explain how UV rays trigger skin cancer

October 18, 2017
Melanoma, a cancer of skin pigment cells called melanocytes, will strike an estimated 87,110 people in the U.S. in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A fraction of those melanomas come from ...

Drug yields high response rates for lung cancer patients with harsh mutation

October 18, 2017
A targeted therapy resurrected by the Moon Shots Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has produced unprecedented response rates among patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that carries ...

Possible new immune therapy target in lung cancer

October 18, 2017
A study from Bern University Hospital in collaboration with the University of Bern shows that so-called perivascular-like cells from lung tumors behave abnormally. They not only inadequately support vascular structures, but ...

Many pelvic tumors in women may have common origin—fallopian tubes

October 17, 2017
Most—and possibly all—ovarian cancers start, not in ovaries, but instead in the fallopian tubes attached to them.

Researchers find novel mechanism of resistance to anti-cancer drugs

October 17, 2017
The targeted anti-cancer therapies cetuximab and panitumumab are mainstays of treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, many patients have tumors ...

New bowel cancer drug target discovered

October 17, 2017
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered a new drug target for bowel cancer that is specific to tumour cells and therefore less toxic than conventional therapies.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.