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PeerJ. 2016 Dec 22;4:e2809. doi: 10.7717/peerj.2809. eCollection 2016.

Trends in mortality rates of cutaneous melanoma in East Asian populations.

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Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; Immunotherapy Institutes, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China.
Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Changchun , China.


The incidence of cutaneous melanoma (CM) has rapidly increased over the past four decades. CM is often overlooked in East Asian populations due to its low incidence, despite East Asia making up 22% of the world's population. Since the 1990s, Caucasian populations have seen a plateau in CM mortality rates; however, there is little data investigating the mortality rates of CM in East Asian populations. In this study, the World Health Organization Mortality Database with the joinpoint regression method, and a generalized additive model were used to investigate trends in age standardized mortality rates (ASMRs) of CM in four East Asia regions (Japan, Republic of Korea (Korea), China: Hong Kong (Hong Kong), and Singapore) over the past six decades. In addition, mortality rate ratios by different variables (i.e., sex, age group, and region) were analyzed. Our results showed ASMRs of CM in East Asia significantly increased non-linearly over the past six decades. The joinpoint regression method indicated women had greater annual percentage changes than men in Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. Men had significantly greater mortality rate ratio (1.51, 95% CI [1.48-1.54]) than women. Mortality rate ratios in 30-59 and 60+ years were significant greater than in the 0-29 years. Compared to Hong Kong, mortality rate ratio was 0.72 (95% CI [0.70-0.74]) times, 0.73 (95% CI [0.70-0.75]) times, and 1.02 (95% CI [1.00-1.05]) times greater in Japan, Korea, and Singapore, respectively. Although there is limited research investigating CM mortality rates in East Asia, results from the present study indicate that there is a significant growth in the ASMRs of CM in East Asian populations, highlighting a need to raise awareness of CM in the general population.


Cutaneous melanoma; East Asia; GAM; Mortality; Skin cancer; Ultraviolet radiation

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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