Subsequent primary cancers among men and women with in situ and invasive melanoma of the skin

      Background

      An estimated 750,000 melanoma survivors in the United States are at increased risk of subsequent primary cancers.

      Objective

      We sought to assess the risk of developing subsequent primary cancers among people with cutaneous melanoma.

      Methods

      Using 1992 to 2006 data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, 40,881 people with in situ melanoma and 76,041 people with invasive melanoma were followed up (mean of 5.6 years) for the development of subsequent primary cancers. The observed number of subsequent cancers was compared with those expected based on age-/race-/year-/site-specific rates in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results population. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) (SIR = observed number/expected number) were considered statistically significant if they differed from 1, with an alpha level of 0.05.

      Results

      After a first primary in situ melanoma, risk was significantly elevated for subsequent invasive melanoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia among men (SIRs = 8.43 and 1.44, respectively) and women (SIRs = 12.33 and 1.79, respectively). After a first primary invasive melanoma, risk was significantly elevated for subsequent invasive melanoma, thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia among both men (SIRs = 12.50, 2.67, 1.56, and 1.57, respectively) and women (SIRs = 15.67, 1.77, 1.42, and 1.63, respectively).

      Limitations

      Case ascertainment issues particularly affecting in situ melanoma cases could affect results. The role of detection bias in the diagnoses of some subsequent cancers cannot be completely eliminated.

      Conclusions

      The findings of the study should guide the development of strategies such as posttreatment surveillance, screening, and ultraviolet exposure education among melanoma survivors to improve cancer survivorship.

      Key words

      Abbreviations used:

      AER ( absolute excess risk), CLL ( chronic lymphocytic leukemia), NHL ( non-Hodgkin lymphoma), PY ( person-years), SEER ( Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results), SIR ( standardized incidence ratio), UV ( ultraviolet)

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