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Cancer. 2010 May 1;116(9):2234-41. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24966.

Conditional survival estimates improve over time for patients with advanced melanoma: results from a population-based analysis.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030-4009, USA.



Conditional survival (CS) has emerged as a clinically relevant measure of prognosis for cancer survivors. The objective of this analysis was to provide melanoma-specific CS estimates to help clinicians promote more informed patient decision making.


Patients with melanoma and at least 5 years of follow-up were identified from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results registry (1988-2000). By using the methods of Kaplan and Meier, stage-specific, 5-year CS estimates were independently calculated for survivors for each year after diagnosis. Stage-specific multivariate Cox regression models including baseline survivor functions were used to calculate adjusted melanoma-specific CS for different subgroups of patients further stratified by age, gender, race, marital status, anatomic tumor location, and tumor histology.


Five-year CS estimates for patients with stage I disease remained constant at 97% annually, while for patients with stages II, III, and IV disease, 5-year CS estimates from time 0 (diagnosis) to 5 years improved from 72% to 86%, 51% to 87%, and 19% to 84%, respectively. Multivariate CS analysis revealed that differences in stages II through IV CS based on age, gender, and race decreased over time.


Five-year melanoma-specific CS estimates improve dramatically over time for survivors with advanced stages of disease. These prognostic data are critical to patients for both treatment and nontreatment related life decisions.

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