The association between BRAF-V600E mutations and death from thin (≤1.00 mm) melanomas: A nested case-case study from Queensland, Australia

descriptive epidemiology

What is known?

In Queensland, Australia, most melanomas are diagnosed when they are thin, and survival for these thin lesions is very good. However, due to the large number of thin melanomas diagnosed, they still cause nearly a quarter of deaths due to melanoma. While some clinical factors are known to predict survival for more advanced melanomas, there is little known about prognostic factors for these thin melanomas.

What is new?

The study used melanoma tissue samples that had been collected previously for 85 people who died from a thin melanoma, along with 85 people who were diagnosed with a thin melanoma but had survived, with these people matched by age, sex, year of diagnosis, thickness category and time since diagnosis. These tissue samples were then reviewed and analysed to detect specific genetic mutations, specifically BRAF-V600E, which is a specific genetic mutation linked to melanoma, causing uncontrolled cell growth, targeted by certain cancer therapies.

The analyses found that having a BRAF-V600E mutation was strongly associated with a lower risk of melanoma mortality among this group.

What does this mean?

These results are based on a small sample, so they will require further validation through additional, larger studies. However, given the lack of known prognostic factors for people diagnosed with thin melanomas, the results provide potential to better identify thin melanomas at higher risk of causing death.

Contact: Peter Baade

Reference: Claeson M, Tan SX, Lambie D, Brown S, Walsh MD, Baade PD, Pandeya N, Whitehead KJ, Soyer HP, Smithers BM, Whiteman DC, Khosrotehrani K. The association between BRAF-V600E mutations and death from thin (≤1.00 mm) melanomas: a nested case-case study from Queensland, Australia. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2023 May 6.doi: 10.1111/jdv.19173. Online ahead of print

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