Background and objective
Accurate information on the incidence of melanoma by stage and a better understanding of transition between stages are important for determining the burden of disease and assessing the impact of new adjuvant therapies on recurrence and survival. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence rates of the various stages of melanoma in Spain and the number of patients with stage III disease who are eligible for adjuvant systemic therapies.
Materials and method
We built an epidemiological model using prospectively collected data from patients diagnosed with de novo or recurrent melanoma between 2012 and 2016 in the melanoma units of 4 public hospitals.
The estimated crude incidence rates for stage I and II melanoma were 7 and 2.9 cases per 100 000 person-years, respectively. The corresponding rates for stage III and IV melanoma were 1.9 and 1.3 cases per 100 000 person-years; 25.8% of patients with stage III melanoma were stage IIIA, 47% were stage IIIB, and 27.3% were stage IIIC. The respective estimated incidence rates for recurrent stage III and IV melanoma were 1.1 and 0.9 cases per 100 000 person-years. Overall, 54% of patients with recurrent stage III melanoma had progressed from stage I or II; the other cases corresponded to changes in substage. Of the patients with stage III melanoma, 85% of those with a de novo diagnosis and 80% of those who had relapsed had resectable disease, meaning they were eligible for adjuvant therapy; 47% of these patients had a BRAF mutation.
The above estimates could have a major impact on health care resource planning. Assessing the number of patients with melanoma who are eligible for adjuvant therapies in melanoma could help decision-makers and clinicians anticipate future needs for the management of this disease.