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Paediatric malignant melanoma in Ireland: A population study and review of the literature

Journal title
Journal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery : JPRAS
Publication year
Quinlan, C. S.; Capra, M.; Dempsey, M.

INTRODUCTION: Malignant melanoma is increasing in frequency worldwide; however, this disease is rare in children. As large-scale studies on paediatric melanoma are lacking, management is currently often based upon the understanding of the disease process in adults. The aim of this study was to characterise cases of paediatric melanoma diagnosed in the Republic of Ireland over a 21-year period. METHODS: This was a retrospective, multicentre study using national data provided by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland and individual practitioners. RESULTS: Twenty-four cases of melanoma treated in 11 different centres were included in the study. The median patient age at diagnosis was 15 years. The majority of cases arose on the limbs. The median Breslow thickness in patients of the pre-pubertal age group was 8.25mm, while in children more than 13 years, it was 1.65mm. Eight patients had disease recurrence and five patients died. CONCLUSION: The diagnosis of melanoma remains rare in children. This study contributes to our current understanding of malignant melanoma in paediatric patients; however, further investigation of the disease characteristics in this group is necessary to achieve optimal management of these cases and therefore improve outcomes.

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