A retrospective multicenter study of fatal pediatric melanoma

Elena B. Hawryluk*, Danna Moustafa, Diana Bartenstein, Meera Brahmbhatt, Kelly Cordoro, Laura Gardner, Abigail Gauthier, Douglas Grossman, Deepti Gupta, Raegan D. Hunt, Melinda Jen, Pei Chi Kao, Lacey L. Kruse, Leslie P. Lawley, Wendy B. London, Danny Mansour, Judith A. O'Haver, Thuy Phung, Elena Pope, Harper N. PriceTova Rogers, Sonal D. Shah, Zachary Wolner, Jennifer Huang, Ashfaq A. Marghoob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric melanoma is rare and diagnostically challenging. Objective: To characterize clinical and histopathologic features of fatal pediatric melanomas. Methods: Multicenter retrospective study of fatal melanoma cases in patients younger than 20 years diagnosed between 1994 and 2017. Results: Of 38 cases of fatal pediatric melanoma identified, 57% presented in white patients and 19% in Hispanic patients. The average age at diagnosis was 12.7 years (range, 0.0-19.9 y), and the average age at death was 15.6 years (range, 1.2-26.2 y). Among cases with known identifiable subtypes, 50% were nodular (8/16), 31% were superficial spreading (5/16), and 19% were spitzoid melanoma (3/16). One fourth (10/38) of melanomas arose in association with congenital melanocytic nevi. Limitations: Retrospective nature, cohort size, and potential referral bias. Conclusions: Pediatric melanoma can be fatal in diverse clinical presentations, including a striking prevalence of Hispanic patients compared to adult disease, and with a range of clinical subtypes, although no fatal cases of spitzoid melanoma were diagnosed during childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1281
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • melanoma
  • oncology
  • pediatric dermatology
  • pediatric melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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