(Chemotherapy Advisor) — Outlook for patients with thin melanomas is positive say the authors of a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study was designed to determine the previously unknown 20-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with thin melanomas.

Study investigators analyzed available clinical and histologic data from the Queensland (Australia) Cancer Registry obtained for all patients diagnosed with a single thin invasive melanoma from 1982 to 2006 and matched against national death registration data. In addition, the investigators assessed Melanoma-specific survival estimates to December 31, 2007, and subgroup differences in prognosis were determined by fitting multivariate Cox proportional hazard models.

During the study period, analyzed data for the 26,736 people in the state of Queensland diagnosed with thin melanomas yielded a 20-year survival of 96%. Among the most influential determinants of prognosis were tumor thickness ≥ 0.75 mm (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 4.33; 95% CI, 2.8 to 6.8 compared with tumors < 0.25 mm) and patient age at diagnosis (older than 65 years [HR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.8 to 4.5] compared with age younger than 25 years).In addition, the authors stated that “acral lentiginous and nodular tumors, male sex, tumor site on the scalp or neck, or tumor invasion of the entire papillary dermis each independently increased the risk of dying from thin invasive melanoma.”

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Study investigators concluded that although the outlook for patients diagnosed with thin melanoma remains positive, continued clinical follow-up is necessary for those patients with nodular melanoma and this with the thickest tumors.