(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Patients who had chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) prior to a diagnosis of malignant melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma had significantly worse overall survival (OS) as well as cause-specific survival from the two skin cancers than those with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology online February 13 has found.

The investigators identified patients in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database from 1990 to 2006 with malignant melanoma (n=212,245) or Merkel cell carcinoma (n=3,613) and analyzed the effects of a history of CLL or NHL on OS and cause-specific survival after the skin-cancer diagnosis. Prior CLL/NHL was determined to have occurred in 1,246 patients with malignant melanoma and 90 with Merkel cell carcinoma.

Compared with patients with malignant melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma without CLL/NHL, those with malignant melanoma and a history of CLL/NHL had worse-than-expected OS as measured by standardized mortality ratio: CLL, 2.6 and NHL, 2.3. Cause-specific survival for malignant melanoma was also worse than expected: CLL, 2.8; NHL, 2.1. For patients with Merkel cell carcinoma, OS ratio was 3.1 for CLL and 1.9 for NHL. Cause-specific survival was 3.8 for CLL and no difference was observed for NHL, 0.9.

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