Background/Purpose: Melanoma is the most common skin cancer in children and often presents in an atypical fashion when compared to adults. The purpose of this review is to present an update on the epidemiology, surgical and medical management and prevention strategies in pediatric melanoma. Methods: A comprehensive review of the current literature on the epidemiology, surgical and medical management and prevention of adult and pediatric melanoma was performed by the authors and the results of this review are summarized in the manuscript. Results: Most recently, the incidence of melanoma in children has been declining, possibly owing to increased awareness and sun exposure prevention. The mainstay of therapy is surgical resection, often with sentinel lymph node biopsy. A positive sentinel node has prognostic value; however, completion node dissection is no longer recommended in the absence of clinically or radiographically positive nodes. Those with advanced disease also receive adjuvant systemic therapy using increasingly targeted immunologic therapies. Conclusions: Sentinel lymph node positive patients no longer require completion lymph node dissection and instead may be followed by ultrasound. However, it is important to note that children have been excluded from most melanoma clinical trials to date, and therefore, recommendations for management are based on existing pediatric retrospective data and extrapolation from adult studies. Level of evidence: IV.
- Pediatric melanoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health