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J Pediatr Surg. 2013 Nov;48(11):2207-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2013.06.002.

Melanoma incidence rises for children and adolescents: an epidemiologic review of pediatric melanoma in the United States.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA; Department of Pediatrics, Children's Cancer Hospital, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA; Department of Pediatric Surgery, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX, USA. Electronic address:



This study was conducted to determine the influence of age on disease presentation and evaluate the change in pediatric melanoma incidence between 1998 and 2007.


We performed a retrospective review of all children ≤18 years with cutaneous melanoma who were included in the 2007 National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database between 1988 and 2007.


We identified a total of 1447 patients with cutaneous melanoma. The overall average annual melanoma incidence was 5.4 per 1 million children and adolescents in the U.S., which increased throughout the study period. Most patients (89%) were at least 10 years of age (average age 15 years). Melanoma in situ (21%), thin (<1 mm) lesions (37%), stage I disease (46%), and superficial spreading histology (25%) were common at presentation. Only 1% of patients presented with distant metastases. Preadolescents younger than age 10 were ethnically more diverse and more likely to present with non-truncal primaries and advanced disease (P<.01) compared to adolescents.


The incidence of pediatric melanoma in the U.S. is increasing. There are significant differences between children and adolescents which suggest age-based inherent differences in the biology of the disease may exist.


Age-based differences; Incidence; Pediatric melanoma

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