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

Study provides insight into link between two rare tumor syndromes

August 22, 2017
UCLA researchers have discovered that timing is everything when it comes to preventing a specific gene mutation in mice from developing rare and fast-growing cancerous tumors, which also affects young children. This mutation ...

Retaining one normal BRCA gene in breast, ovarian cancers influences patient survival

August 22, 2017
Determining which cancer patients are likely to be resistant to initial treatment is a major research effort of oncologists and laboratory scientists. Now, ascertaining who might fall into that category may become a little ...

Study identifies miR122 target sites in liver cancer and links a gene to patient survival

August 22, 2017
A new study of a molecule that regulates liver-cell metabolism and suppresses liver-cancer development shows that the molecule interacts with thousands of genes in liver cells, and that when levels of the molecule go down, ...

Zebrafish larvae could be used as 'avatars' to optimize personalized treatment of cancer

August 21, 2017
Portuguese scientists have for the first time shown that the larvae of a tiny fish could one day become the preferred model for predicting, in advance, the response of human malignant tumors to the various therapeutic drugs ...

Scientists discover vitamin C regulates stem cell function, curbs leukemia development

August 21, 2017
Not much is known about stem cell metabolism, but a new study from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has found that stem cells take up unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then ...

Searching for the 'signature' causes of BRCAness in breast cancer

August 21, 2017
Breast cancer cells with defects in the DNA damage repair-genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have a mutational signature (a pattern of base swaps—e.g., Ts for Gs, Cs for As—throughout a genome) known in cancer genomics as "Signature ...

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.