About Pediatric Melanoma
PEDIATRIC MELANOMA—DEFINE IT IN ORDER TO CURE IT
Pediatric melanoma cases are relatively rare, with under 400 cases reported each year in the United States. But it is the deadliest form of skin cancer for children, just as it is for adults, and the disease needs to be better defined in order to better treat it and ultimately cure it.
About Cancer Registries
Registries are the first step to understanding disease. Knowing how many cases have been reported, the patients’ medical histories, the tumor features, and other relevant data allow a researcher to study and compare information across hundreds of known cases.
About the Pediatric Melanoma Registry Collaboration
Ten years ago, a researcher put together a “one and done” retrospective study to define pediatric melanoma as unique from adult melanoma. The results were intriguing, but it simply did not go far enough nor have enough data to answer the pressing questions about the disease.
AIM at Melanoma Research Foundation has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Dr. Brittani Seynnaeve, who is recreating the original study but in a much more comprehensive form.
Ten institutions across the country are participating, each preparing first a retrospective pediatric database (studying and recording all known cases from the past) and then a prospective pediatric database (adding current cases as they emerge).
The participating institutions are:
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Moffitt Cancer Center, The University of South Florida
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Oregon Health & Sciences University
University of Pennsylvania
Arizona Cancer Center, The University of Arizona
Case Western University
Goals of The Pediatric Melanoma Registry Collaboration
The ultimate goal is to cure pediatric melanoma, but the first goal is to better define the disease.
We don’t know, for example, if the same surgical techniques used on adults should be used on children. We don’t know if children should be prescribed the same toxic therapies as adults. We do know that children tend to fare better with melanoma diagnoses than adults, but we don’t know why. And we don’t know what the important prognostic features are for pediatric melanoma.
There is recognition that the number of lesions is increasing in children and also that there are many borderline cases. Understanding why is critical.