Characteristics and variations in young adults with cutaneous melanoma: A national cancer database analysis

Alicia C. Greene, Madeline Matzelle-Zywicki, Olivia Ziegler, Jessica C. El-Mallah, Michael J. Stack, Colette R. Pameijer, Chan Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Many cancers in young adulthood differ in terms of biology, histologic variation, and prognosis compared to cancer in other older age groups. Differences in cutaneous melanoma among young adults compared to other older age groups, as well as between sexes in young adults are not well studied. Methods: The National Cancer Database was queried for patients diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma between 2004 and 2017. Patient characteristics, disease factors, and treatment were stratified by age-based cohorts and compared using standard univariate statistics. The Kaplan–Meier method and log-rank tests were used to evaluate overall survival (OS) between age-based cohorts and young adult sexes. Results: Of the 329 765 patients identified, 10.5% were between 18 and 39 years of age at diagnosis. Compared with other older age groups, young adult patients were more likely to be female and uninsured with higher proportions of superficial spreading melanoma, melanoma of the trunk and extremities, and earlier-stage disease. Young adults had improved OS compared to other older age groups. Young male patients had a greater proportion of no insurance, nodular melanoma, higher-stage disease, and decreased OS compared to young female patients. Additionally, while the 5-year OS difference was statistically significant across all stages of disease between young males and females, the clinical significance is likely limited to later stages. Conclusions: Age and sex-specific differences in cutaneous melanoma highlight distinct patterns and characteristics, emphasizing the need for tailored approaches to screening, diagnosis, and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1554-1565
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 15 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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