Does pregnancy influence melanoma prognosis? A meta-analysis

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Abstract

The literature has not been able to conclude whether pregnancy influences the prognosis of melanoma. The aim of this study was to explore the prognosis of melanoma diagnosed during pregnancy or post partum [pregnancy-associated melanoma (PAM)] compared with melanoma in female patients who were not pregnant. We systematically searched for studies of female patients with melanoma that reported outcomes related to survival. Fifteen eligible studies were found. Overall, PAM was associated with a 17% higher mortality compared with melanoma diagnosed in female patients who were not pregnant (hazard ratio=1.17, 95% confidence interval: 1.03–1.33, P=0.02). The heterogeneity associated with this test was moderate (P=0.07; I2=38%). PAM was also associated with a 50% higher recurrence rate compared with melanoma not associated with pregnancy (hazard ratio=1.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.19–1.90, P<0.001). The heterogeneity associated with this test was low (P=0.69; I2=0%). A limitation of this meta-analysis is the definition of PAM, which is not unanimous among the studies included. Our results indicate that PAM is associated with a worse prognosis than melanoma not related to pregnancy, both in terms of overall survival and disease-free survival. On the basis of our data, we anticipate that the survival difference we report here will be further amplified with the addition of future well-carried out studies. We suggest that detection of PAM requires particular awareness by healthcare professionals.

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