Susan M Swetter

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States

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Publications (79)362.97 Total impact

  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 02/2014; 70(2):e47-8. · 4.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The management of pediatric melanoma (PM) has largely been extrapolated from adult data. However, the behavior of PM appears to differ from its adult counterparts. Therefore, an international PM registry was created and analyzed. Twelve institutions contributed deidentified clinicopathologic and outcome data for patients diagnosed with PM from 1953 through 2008. Overall survival (OS) data were reported for 365 patients with invasive PM who had adequate follow-up data. The mean age of the patients was 16 years (range 1 year-21 years). The 10-year OS rate, 80.6%, tended to vary by patient age: 100% for those aged birth to 10 years, 69.7% for those aged > 10 years to 15 years, and 79.5% for those aged > 15 years to 20 years (P = .147). Patients with melanomas measuring ≤ 1 mm had a favorable prognosis (10-year OS rate of 97%), whereas survival was lower but similar for patients with melanomas measuring > 1 mm to 2 mm, > 2 mm to 4 mm, and > 4 mm (70%, 78%, and 80%, respectively; P = .0077). Ulceration and lymph node metastasis were found to be correlated with worse survival (P = .022 and P = .017, respectively). The 10-year OS rate was 94.1% for patients with American Joint Committee on Cancer stage I disease, 79.6% for those with stage II disease, and 77.1% for patients with stage III disease (P < .001). Tumor thickness, ulceration, lymph node status, and stage were found to be significant predictors of survival in patients with PM, similar to adult melanoma. There is a trend toward increased survival in children aged ≤ 10 years versus adolescents aged > 10 years. Further analyses are needed to probe for potential biological and behavioral differences in pediatric versus adult melanoma. Cancer 2013. © 2013 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 09/2013; · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Spitz nevi are benign melanocytic proliferations that can sometimes be clinically and histopathologically difficult to distinguish from melanoma. Agminated Spitz nevi have been reported to arise spontaneously, in association with an underlying nevus spilus, or after radiation or chemotherapy. However, to our knowledge, the genetic mechanism for this eruption has not been described. OBSERVATIONS We report a case of agminated Spitz nevi arising in a nevus spilus and use exome sequencing to identify a clonal activating point mutation in HRAS (GenBank 3265) (c.37G→C) in the Spitz nevi and underlying nevus spilus. We also identify a secondary copy number increase involving HRAS on chromosome 11p, which occurs during the development of the Spitz nevi. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Our results reveal an activating HRAS mutation in a nevus spilus that predisposes to the formation of Spitz nevi. In addition, we demonstrate a copy number increase in HRAS as a "second hit" during the formation of agminated Spitz nevi, which suggests that both multiple Spitz nevi and solitary Spitz nevi may arise through similar molecular pathways. In addition, we describe a unique investigative approach for the discovery of genetic alterations in Spitz nevi.
    JAMA dermatology (Chicago, Ill.). 07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Worse survival among patients with melanoma has been demonstrated in middle-aged and older men compared with women, but few studies have explored survival differences by sex in adolescents and young adults, in whom melanoma is the third most common cancer. Focusing on sex disparities in survival among younger individuals may provide further evidence of biological rather than behavioral factors that affect melanoma outcome. OBJECTIVE To determine whether long-term survival varies between white male and female adolescents and young adults with melanoma (15 to 39 years of age at diagnosis) in the United States. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Population-based cohort with a mean follow-up of 7.5 years of 26 107 non-Hispanic white adolescents and young adults with primary invasive melanoma of the skin diagnosed from January 1, 1989, through December 31, 2009, and reported to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results network of cancer registries. MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE Melanoma-specific survival. RESULTS There were 1561 melanoma-specific deaths in the study population. Although adolescent and young adult males accounted for fewer overall melanoma cases (39.8%) than females, they comprised 63.6% of melanoma-specific deaths. Adolescent and young adult males were 55% more likely to die of melanoma than age-matched females after adjustment for tumor thickness, histologic subtype, presence and extent of metastasis, and anatomical location (hazard ratio, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.39-1.73). Males were also more likely to die within each age range assessed (eg, 15-24, 25-29, 30-34, and 35-39 years), and even those with thin melanomas (≤1.00 mm) were twice as likely to die as age-matched females (hazard ratio, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.57-2.42). Adjustment for health insurance and socioeconomic status in a subanalysis did not significantly alter these results. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Male sex is associated with worse survival among white adolescents and young adults with melanoma after controlling for thickness and other prognostic factors. Continued public health efforts are necessary to raise awareness of the outcome of melanoma in young men. Further investigation of possible biological mechanisms that account for these sex differences is merited.
    JAMA dermatology (Chicago, Ill.). 06/2013;
  • Mina S Ally, Susan M Swetter, Jean Y Tang
    Future Oncology 06/2013; · 3.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The NCCN Guidelines for Melanoma provide multidisciplinary recommendations on the clinical management of patients with melanoma. This NCCN Guidelines Insights report highlights notable recent updates. Foremost of these is the exciting addition of the novel agents ipilimumab and vemurafenib for treatment of advanced melanoma. The NCCN panel also included imatinib as a treatment for KIT-mutated tumors and pegylated interferon alfa-2b as an option for adjuvant therapy. Also important are revisions to the initial stratification of early-stage lesions based on the risk of sentinel lymph node metastases, and revised recommendations on the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy for low-risk groups. Finally, the NCCN panel reached clinical consensus on clarifying the role of imaging in the workup of patients with melanoma.
    Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network: JNCCN 04/2013; 11(4):395-407. · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been associated with decreased risk of gastric, colorectal, and breast cancer. However, the impact of NSAIDs on the risk of melanoma has been inconsistent. The authors evaluated the association between NSAID use and cutaneous melanoma risk in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study (OS). METHODS: At study entry, use of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid [ASA]) and nonaspirin NSAIDs was assessed among 59,806 postmenopausal Caucasian women ages 50 to 79 years. Cox proportional hazards models were constructed after adjusting for participant skin type, sun exposure history, and medical indications for NSAID use among other confounders. RESULTS: During a median follow-up of 12 years, 548 incident melanomas were confirmed by medical review. Women who used ASA had a 21% lower risk of melanoma (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.63-0.98) relative to nonusers. Increased duration of ASA use (<1 year, 1-4 years, and ≥5 years) was associated with an 11% lower risk of melanoma for each categorical increase (Ptrend = .01), and women with ≥5 years of use had a 30% lower melanoma risk (hazard ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.55-0.94). In contrast, use of non-ASA NSAIDs and acetaminophen were not associated with melanoma risk. CONCLUSIONS: Postmenopausal women who used ASA had a significantly lower risk of melanoma, and longer duration of ASA use was associated with greater protection. Although this study was limited by the observational design and self-report of NSAID use, the findings suggest that ASA may have a chemopreventive effect against the development of melanoma and warrant further clinical investigation. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 03/2013; · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melanoma is a relatively immunogenic tumor, in which infiltration of melanoma cells by T lymphocytes is associated with a better clinical prognosis. We hypothesized that radiation-induced cell death may provide additional stimulation of an anti-tumor immune response in the setting of anti-CTLA-4 treatment. In a pilot melanoma patient, we prospectively tested this hypothesis. We treated the patient with two cycles of ipilimumab, followed by stereotactic ablative radiotherapy to two of seven hepatic metastases, and two additional cycles of ipilimumab. Subsequent positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan indicated that all metastases, including unirradiated liver lesions and an unirradiated axillary lesion, had completely resolved, consistent with a complete response by RECIST. The use of radiotherapy in combination with targeted immunotherapy as a noninvasive in vivo tumor vaccine strategy appears to be a promising method of enhancing the induction of systemic immune responses and anti-tumor effect.
    Translational oncology 12/2012; 5(6):404-7. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Controversy has emerged over the past decades regarding the value and impact of melanoma screening to detect early stage disease for improved prognosis. Those questioning the benefits of prevention efforts base their arguments on the absence of prospective, randomized studies demonstrating decreased melanoma mortality to justify the cost associated with screening and educational campaigns. For those in favor of melanoma screening, the lack of proven survival benefit is not a justification to abandon this approach, but rather a reflection of the lack of resources necessary to conduct a long-term trial. In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)report did not recommend routine primary care screening for the general population given the absence of evidence. However, since the USPSTF report, a series of new studies are available, which support the potential benefit of screening and have the potential to significantly impact current policies regarding skin cancer screening, particularly for melanoma.
    Current Oncology Reports 08/2012; 14(5):458-67. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Reduced melanoma risk has been reported with regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, the ability of NSAIDs to reach melanocytes in vivo and modulate key biomarkers in preneoplastic lesions such as atypical nevi has not been evaluated. METHODS: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of sulindac was conducted in individuals with atypical nevi (AN) to determine bioavailability of sulindac and metabolites in nevi and effect on apoptosis and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) expression in AN. Fifty subjects with AN ≥4 mm in size and 1 benign nevus (BN) were randomized to sulindac (150 mg twice a day) or placebo for 8 weeks. Two AN were randomized for baseline excision, and 2 AN and BN were excised after intervention. RESULTS: Postintervention sulindac, sulindac sulfone, and sulindac sulfide concentrations were 0.31 ± 0.36, 1.56 ± 1.35, and 2.25 ± 2.24 μg/mL in plasma, and 0.51 ± 1.05, 1.38 ± 2.86, and 0.12 ± 0.12 μg/g in BN, respectively. Sulindac intervention did not significantly change VEGFA expression but did increase expression of the apoptotic marker cleaved caspase-3 in AN (increase of 3 ± 33 in sulindac vs decrease of 25 ± 45 in the placebo arm, P = .0056), although significance was attenuated (P = .1103) after adjusting for baseline expression. CONCLUSIONS: Eight weeks of sulindac intervention resulted in high concentrations of sulindac sulfone, a proapoptotic metabolite, in BN but did not effectively modulate VEGFA and cleaved caspase-3 expression. Study limitations included limited exposure time to sulindac and the need to optimize a panel of biomarkers for NSAID intervention studies. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 05/2012; · 5.20 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Clinical Oncology 04/2012; 30(18):2177-8. · 18.04 Impact Factor
  • Article: Melanoma.
    Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network: JNCCN 03/2012; 10(3):366-400. · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: LLNL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; QALY, quality-adjusted life year; SLNB, sentinel lymph node biopsy; SSE, skin self-examination; TBP, total body level; WLE, wide local excision; YLS, years of life saved
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 02/2012; 132(5):1332-7. · 6.19 Impact Factor
  • Archives of dermatology 01/2012; 148(1):124-6. · 4.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced melanoma mortality should result from an improved understanding of modifiable factors related to early detection. The authors of this report surveyed newly diagnosed patients to identify differences in prediagnosis behavioral and medical care factors associated with thinner versus thicker melanoma. In total, 566 adults with invasive melanoma completed questionnaires within 3 months of diagnosis on demographics, health care access, skin self-examination (SSE), and physician skin examination (PSE) practices in the year before diagnosis. SSE was measured by us e of a melanoma picture aid and routine examination of some/all body sites versus none. Patient-reported partial or full-body PSE also was assessed. Melanoma thickness was dichotomized at 1 mm. Patient ranged in age from 18 years to 99 years, and 61% were men. The median tumor thickness was 1.25 mm, and 321 tumors (57%) were >1 mm thick. Thinner tumors (≤1 mm) were associated with age ≤60 years (P = .0002), women (P = .0127), higher education level (P = .0122), and physician discovery (P ≤ .0001). Patients who used a melanoma picture aid and performed routine SSE were more likely to have thinner tumors than those who did not (odds ratio [OR], 2.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.48-4.80). Full-body PSE was associated with thinner tumors (OR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.62-3.87), largely because of the effect of PSE in men aged >60 years (OR, 4.09 95% CI, 1.88-8.89). SSE and PSE were identified as complementary early detection strategies, particularly in men aged >60 years, in whom both partial and full-body PSE were associated with thinner tumors. Given the high rates of physician access, PSE may be a more practical approach for successful early detection in this subgroup with highest mortality.
    Cancer 12/2011; 118(15):3725-34. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with more advanced melanoma at diagnosis and decreased survival. Exploring the pathways linking lower SES and thicker melanoma will help guide public and professional strategies to reduce deaths. The authors surveyed 566 newly diagnosed patients at Stanford University Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, and University of Michigan. SES was assessed by education level (high school/general education degree or less [HS], associate/technical school degree, or ≥college graduate). All data was obtained by self-report among patients within three months of their diagnosis. HS-educated individuals were significantly more likely than college graduates to believe that melanoma was not very serious (odds ratio [OR], 2.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.79-4.71) and were less likely to know the asymmetry, borders (irregular), color (variegated), and diameter (>6 mm) (ABCD) melanoma rule or the difference between melanoma and ordinary skin growths (OR, 0.34 [95% CI, 0.23-0.52] and 0.26 [95% CI, 0.16-0.41] respectively). Physicians were less likely to have ever told HS-educated versus college-educated individuals they were at risk for skin cancer (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.31-0.71) or instructed them on how to examine their skin for signs of melanoma (OR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.25-0.63). HS-educated individuals were less likely to have received a physician skin examination within the year before diagnosis (OR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.37-0.80). Decreased melanoma risk perception and knowledge among low-SES individuals and decreased physician communication regarding skin examinations of these individuals may be key components of the consistently observed socioeconomic gradient in mortality. The current findings suggest the need to raise melanoma awareness among lower-SES patients and to increase physician awareness of socioeconomic disparities in clinical communication and care.
    Cancer 12/2011; 118(16):4004-13. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Incidence and mortality rates of melanoma throughout most of the developed world have increased in the past 25 years. We propose that reduction of deaths from melanoma can be best enhanced by strong collaborations between experts in dermatology, primary care, oncology, cancer education and health systems research, epidemiologists, and behavioral scientists, among others. Public and professional educational campaigns should be guided by an understanding of 3 underlying but overlapping roots: epidemiology and preventable mortality (an understanding of who is most likely to be given the diagnosis of thick or late-stage melanoma), biology (an investigation of tumor types that are relatively common but potentially most lethal), and sociology (an analysis of the changes needed in social structures to improve access to those most in need of early detection programs). We review these major concepts, concentrating on the key risk factors for advanced melanoma.
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 11/2011; 65(5 Suppl 1):S87-94. · 4.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of primary cutaneous melanoma has been increasing dramatically for several decades. Melanoma accounts for the majority of skin cancer-related deaths, but treatment is nearly always curative with early detection of disease. In this update of the guidelines of care, we will discuss the treatment of patients with primary cutaneous melanoma. We will discuss biopsy techniques of a lesion clinically suspicious for melanoma and offer recommendations for the histopathologic interpretation of cutaneous melanoma. We will offer recommendations for the use of laboratory and imaging tests in the initial workup of patients with newly diagnosed melanoma and for follow-up of asymptomatic patients. With regard to treatment of primary cutaneous melanoma, we will provide recommendations for surgical margins and briefly discuss nonsurgical treatments. Finally, we will discuss the value and limitations of sentinel lymph node biopsy and offer recommendations for its use in patients with primary cutaneous melanoma.
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 08/2011; 65(5):1032-47. · 4.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During the past 3 decades in the United States, melanoma incidence among non-Hispanic white girls and women aged 15 to 39 years has more than doubled. To better understand which specific subpopulations of girls and women experienced this increase and thereby to target public health interventions, we assessed the relationship between melanoma incidence and small-area level measures of socioeconomic status (SES) and UV radiation (UV-R) exposure. Longitudinal study of California Cancer Registry, US Census, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data from pericensal periods January 1, 1988, through December 31, 1992, and January 1, 1998, through December 31, 2002. State of California. A total of 3800 non-Hispanic white girls and women aged 15 to 39 years, in whom 3842 melanomas were diagnosed. Incidence rates per 100 000 person-years and rate ratios according to SES quintiles and UV-R exposure tertiles. Whereas melanoma rates increased over time for all SES categories, only changes among the highest 3 categories achieved statistical significance. UV radiation was significantly and positively associated with melanoma incidence only among adolescent girls and young women in the 2 highest quintiles ranked by SES, which suggests that SES is not a proxy for UV-R exposure. Those living in neighborhoods with the highest SES and UV-R categories had 80.0% higher rates of melanoma than those in neighborhoods in the lowest categories (rate ratio, 1.80; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-3.01). Understanding the ways that SES and UV-R exposure work together to influence melanoma incidence is important for planning effective prevention and educational efforts. Interventions should target adolescent girls and young women living in high SES and high UV-R neighborhoods because they have experienced a significantly greater increase in disease burden.
    Archives of dermatology 03/2011; 147(7):783-9. · 4.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence patterns and socioeconomic distribution of cutaneous melanoma among Hispanics are poorly understood. The authors obtained population-based incidence data for all Hispanic and non-Hispanic white (NHW) patients who were diagnosed with invasive cutaneous melanoma from 1988 to 2007 in California. By using a neighborhood-level measure of socioeconomic status (SES), the variables investigated included incidence, thickness at diagnosis, histologic subtype, anatomic site, and the relative risk (RR) for thicker (>2 mm) versus thinner (≤ 2 mm) tumors at diagnosis for groups categorized by SES. Age-adjusted melanoma incidence rates per million were higher in NHWs (P < .0001), and tumor thickness at diagnosis was greater in Hispanics (P < .0001). Sixty-one percent of melanomas in NHWs occurred in the High SES group. Among Hispanics, only 35% occurred in the High SES group; and 22% occurred in the Low SES group. Lower SES was associated with thicker tumors (P < .0001); this association was stronger in Hispanics. The RR of thicker tumors versus thinner tumors (≤ 2 mm) in the Low SES group versus the High SES group was 1.48 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.37-1.61) for NHW men and 2.18 (95% CI, 1.73-2.74) for Hispanic men. Patients with lower SES had less of the superficial spreading melanoma subtype (especially among Hispanic men) and more of the nodular melanoma subtype. Leg/hip melanomas were associated with higher SES in NHW men but with lower SES in Hispanic men. The socioeconomic distribution of melanoma incidence and tumor thickness differed substantially between Hispanic and NHW Californians, particularly among men. Melanoma prevention efforts targeted to lower SES Hispanics and increased physician awareness of melanoma patterns among Hispanics are needed.
    Cancer 01/2011; 117(1):152-61. · 5.20 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
362.97 Total Impact Points


  • 1993–2012
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Dermatology
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 2011
    • Cancer Prevention Institute of California
      Fremont, California, United States
  • 2010
    • Stanford Medicine
      • Department of Dermatology
      Stanford, California, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Southern California
      • Department of Preventive Medicine
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
    • Northern California Arthritis Center
      Walnut Creek, California, United States
    • Boston University
      • Department of Dermatology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2008
    • Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
      Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 1998–2007
    • VA Palo Alto Health Care System
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Massachusetts Boston
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2003
    • University of Louisville
      • Division of Surgical Oncology
      Louisville, KY, United States
  • 1994
    • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford
      Palo Alto, California, United States