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      Sex differences in survival of cutaneous melanoma are age dependent: an analysis of 7338 patients.

      Melanoma Research

      Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Female, Germany, epidemiology, Humans, Male, Melanoma, mortality, pathology, Middle Aged, Sex Factors, Skin Neoplasms, Survival Analysis

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          This study identified sex differences in clinical presentation and survival for primary cutaneous melanoma without clinical evidence of metastasis at diagnosis from 1976 to 2008 in southern Germany. Melanoma-specific survival curves and estimated survival probabilities were generated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Multivariate survival analyses were carried out using the Cox modeling. Male patients had significantly thicker and more frequently ulcerated tumors and a lower 10-year disease-specific survival (DSS) and recurrence-free survival probability compared with females among patients of 43 years old or younger (DSS: 86.1 vs. 93.2%, P<0.001) and 44-60 years old (DSS: 83.5 vs. 90.1%, P<0.001). The survival advantage of female patients in terms of 10-year DSS and 10-year recurrence-free survival was not observed after an age of 60 years (P=0.21 and 0.51, respectively). Sex was of prognostic importance for DSS and survival after recurrence [hazards ratio (HR): 1.3; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1-1.6; P=0.002 and HR: 1.2; 95% CI: 1.0-1.5; P=0.018, respectively]. Stratified by age groups, sex remained of prognostic importance for DSS only in patients of 43 years or younger, and 44-60 years old (HR: 1.5; 95% CI: 1.0-2.1; P=0.03 and HR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1-2.0; P=0.02, respectively). Sex is an independent prognostic factor in surviving melanoma. The sex difference in survival with a better outcome for women is confined to melanoma patients of 60 years and younger. In addition, in younger age groups, male patients present with prognostically unfavorable features of primary melanoma. A female survival advantage is also known for other solid tumors such as colon and lung cancer; however, age dependency has not been studied.

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