Localized melanoma in older patients, the impact of increasing age and comorbid medical conditions.

Research paper by M J MJ Rees, H H Liao, J J Spillane, D D Speakman, C C McCormack, S S Donahoe, M M Pohl, A A Webb, D D Gyorki, M A MA Henderson

Indexed on: 24 Feb '16Published on: 24 Feb '16Published in: EJSO - European Journal of Surgical Oncology


Elderly patients experience a different spectrum of disease and poorer outcomes than younger patients. This study investigated the impact of age and medical comorbidities on the management and outcome of patients ≥65 years.A retrospective review of all patients ≥65 years (481 patients with 525 primary melanomas) presenting with AJCC clinical stage I-II melanoma to an Australian cancer centre between 2000 and 2008.The median age was 74 years (65-94) with a male predominance (313 males, 65.0%) and median tumour thickness of 1.90 mm (IQR = 0.40-2.90, T1 = 33%, T2 = 20%, T3 = 24%, T4 = 23%). Inadequate surgical margins of excision (<10 mm) were common in older patients independent of site, thickness and ulceration (OR = 1.04, 95%CI = 1.00-1.07, p = 0.038). Inadequate excision margins were strongly associated with time to local recurrence, independent of age, thickness, ulceration and mitotic rate (HR = 3.00, 95%CI = 1.49-6.03, p = 0.0021), but not time to progression (p = 0.10) or disease specific survival (DSS, p = 0.27). Overall survival (OS) was strongly related to increasing age (HR = 1.04, 95%CI = 1.01-1.07, p = 0.015) and comorbid medical conditions (HR = 1.26, 95%CI = 1.12-1.42, p < 0.001), as assessed by the Charlson comorbidity index (CCI). DSS was significantly related to CCI (HR = 1.20, 95%CI = 1.01-1.42, p = 0.041) and not age (p = 0.46), when adjusting for thickness, ulceration and mitotic rate on multivariate analysis.Older patients present with poor prognosis melanomas yet are less likely to receive adequate surgical excision margins resulting in higher rates of local recurrence. In melanoma patients ≥65 years, the increasing number of medical comorbidities explains much of the age related variations in OS and DSS and should be considered when planning treatment.

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