Melanoma Arising in African-, Asian-, Latino- and Native-American Populations

Melanoma Center, Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94153, USA.
Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery (Impact Factor: 1.34). 07/2009; 28(2):96-102. DOI: 10.1016/j.sder.2009.04.005
Source: PubMed


This review highlights melanoma trends observed among African-, Asian-, Latino- and Native-American populations. Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer, accounting for about 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Generally, incidence rates increase with age, peak after age 40, and are greater in men than women. However, these trends do not reflect what is typically seen in minority ethnic groups, where incidence rates are lower. In addition, for some groups, relative disease-specific survival also is lower compared with European-Americans. Melanomas in minority populations also tend to appear in atypical locations and are of unclear etiology. To improve our understanding of the causes of melanoma arising in ethnic minority populations future research efforts are needed. In addition, the general lack of awareness of this disease entity among minority populations and the fact that certain ethnic groups tend to present with advanced disease further highlight the need for educational programs for both patients and health care professionals.

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    • "While mucosal and acral melanomas account for ~65% of all melanomas in Chinese and other Asian populations, in Caucasian populations the predominant location is the trunk and legs, with detection of KIT mutations identified in ≤11% of all melanomas in China (30,31). By contrast, a high prevalence of BRAF mutations (36%) and a lack of KIT mutations were previously found in a study of 11 patients with sinonasal melanoma in Italy (32). "
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    • "In addition to the variations demonstrated in incidences, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data from the United States showed that the clinical characteristics such as pathology, anatomical origin, and patients' prognoses differ significantly among different ethnic groups [3]. Furthermore, although darker-pigmented populations including Asians may benefit from protective effect of melanin to ultraviolet radiation, worse prognoses for non-Caucasian melanoma patients including a significantly shorter survival time have been reported [4-6]. "
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