Impact of scalp location on survival in head and neck melanoma: A retrospective cohort study

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Background Scalp melanomas have more aggressive clinicopathological features than other melanomas and mortality rates more than twice that of melanoma located elsewhere. Objective We sought to describe the survival of patients with scalp melanoma versus other cutaneous head and neck melanoma (CHNM), and explore a possible independent negative impact of scalp location on CHNM survival. Methods A retrospective cohort study was performed of all invasive primary CHNM cases seen at a tertiary referral center over a 20-year period. Melanoma-specific survival (MSS) was compared between scalp melanoma and other invasive CHNM. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression was performed to determine associations with survival. Results On univariate analysis, patients with scalp melanoma had worse MSS than other CHNM (hazard ratio 2.22, 95% confidence interval 1.59-3.11). Scalp location was not associated with MSS in CHNM on multivariable analysis (hazard ratio 1.11, 95% confidence interval 0.77-1.61) for all tumors together, but remained independently associated with MSS for the 0.76- to 1.50-mm thickness stratum (hazard ratio 5.51, 95% confidence interval 1.55-19.59). Limitations Disease recurrence was not assessed because of unavailable data. Conclusion The poorer survival of scalp melanoma is largely explained by greater Breslow thickness and a higher proportion of male patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-498.e2
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • head and neck
  • histopathology
  • melanoma
  • prognostic factors
  • scalp
  • survival

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