(HealthDay News) — Survival rates for children and adolescents with melanomas are high, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Researchers assessed clinicopathologic features and survival of 62 children (aged 11 years and younger) and 452 adolescents (aged 12 to 19 years) diagnosed with melanoma.

Melanoma subtypes included conventional melanoma (superficial spreading, nodular, desmoplastic, and acral lentiginous; 428 patients), spitzoid melanoma (78 patients), and melanoma associated with a congenital nevus (8 patients).

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The 10-year recurrence-free survival (RFS) rate was similar in children (91.5%) and adolescents (86.4%), as was the 10-year overall survival rate (100% and 92.7%, respectively).

In adolescents, ulceration status and anatomic site were associated with RFS and overall survival. Age, sex, mitotic index, sentinel node status, and melanoma subtype were not. Worse RFS was seen with Breslow thickness greater than 4 mm.

“Our data suggest that adolescent melanomas are often similar to adult-type melanomas, whilst those which occur in young children frequently occur via different molecular mechanisms,” the study authors wrote. “In the future, it is likely that further understanding of these molecular mechanisms and ability to classify melanomas based on their molecular characteristics will assist in further refining prognostic estimates and [possibly] guiding treatment for young patients with melanoma.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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