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Abstract Background/Objectives Pediatric melanoma is rare and remains poorly characterized, especially in racial/ethnic minorities of whom Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing in the United States. The health care burden of melanoma in Hispanics, who often present with more advanced disease, is rising and has even been called an early epidemic in California. We sought to document key clinicopathologic features of melanoma in Hispanic pediatric patients and to compare these parameters to pediatric non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) under the a priori hypothesis that Spitzoid melanomas occur in greater proportions in Hispanics. Methods Single-institution cross-sectional study of pediatric melanoma cases (age < 20 years) with Hispanic stratification and comparison with matched Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data from the same time frame (1988-2016). Results Of our 61 institutional cases of pediatric melanoma, Hispanics (11), compared with NHWs (40), presented significantly younger (11.7 years, 95% CI: 2.77-8.00 years; P = .001), with lower limb predominance (46%; P < .05), mostly Spitzoid melanomas (82%; P < .05), and thicker tumors (2.34 mm, CI: 0.26-2.19 mm; P < .05). Similarly, SEER data (2499 cases) showed greater proportions of childhood/pre-pubertal adolescent melanomas (<15 years), lower limb involvement, Spitzoid subtype (36.5% vs 22.5% in NHWs; P = .001), and advanced (regional/distant) disease stages in Hispanics (212) compared with NHWs (2197). Conclusions Pediatric melanomas may present differently in Hispanics, and heightened awareness/lower threshold to biopsy high-risk Spitzoid tumors on the lower limb may be warranted. Further investigations are needed to aid prevention and early detection in a vulnerable minority population less likely to seek outpatient dermatology specialty care.

Original publication




Journal article


Pediatric Dermatology

Publication Date





1102 - 1110