BACKGROUND: Melanoma is a common type of skin cancer with poor survival in advanced stages. Screening efforts aim to detect and tackle tumors at an early stage. However, regional population-based data at the time of initial diagnosis are sparse.
OBJECTIVES: To analyse clinical and pathologic tumor characteristics in a Swiss population.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Melanoma samples diagnosed at a large Swiss academic department were evaluated for demographic, clinical and histopathologic data.
RESULTS: We analysed a total of 254 melanoma samples. In situ tumors were more common in females than in males (70.6% vs. 29.4%; p = 0.0032). The acro-lentiginous subtype was more common in in situ compared to invasive tumors (14.7% vs. 5.5%; p = 0.0011). Invasive tumors showed a preference for male gender in patients beyond 60 years of age (p = 0.0080). The most frequent anatomic sites were the trunk in males and the legs in females. Regression was more common in males than in females (35.2% vs. 11.7%; p = 0.0001). Breslow's thickness correlated significantly with age but not with gender. Ulceration was common in tumors thicker than 2.01 mm (48.4%; p = 0.0001). Regression was frequently detected in melanomas thinner than 1.00 mm (29.3%; p = 0.0263).
CONCLUSION: Screening efforts should target elderly patients. Skin examinations should include acral localisations and focus on the trunk in males and the lower extremities in females. Population-based analyses can help to fine-tune melanoma screening in defined regional populations.