Background: A female survival advantage in cutaneous melanoma has been long recognized. However, whether this extends across all age groups, with risk stratification using the latest prognostic staging system or in the current era of efficacious systemic therapies is unknown. Therefore, we evaluated whether sex-based differences in melanoma survival persisted within a recent population-based patient cohort with consideration of these factors. Materials and Methods: We identified stage II-IV cutaneous melanoma patients from 2010 to 2014 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registries data. We recalculated stage per American Joint Committee on Cancer 8th edition guidelines. Cancer-specific survival (CSS) was estimated by using the Kaplan-Meier method and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression. Results: Of 16,807 patients (39.8% female), 8,990 were stage II, 4,826 stage III, and 2,991 stage IV at diagnosis. Unadjusted 3-/5-year CSS estimates for females versus males were 64.2% versus 59.7%, and 53.5% versus 49.9%, respectively, p ≤ 0.0001. Five-year CSS varied within each stage and across age strata of <45, 45-59, and ≥60 years. Within each stage, females <45 had better CSS than all other sex/age groups (p < 0.0001). In multivariable analysis of stage II/III patients, female sex, younger age, and lower mitotic index retained favorable CSS prognostic significance (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Sex-based differences in melanoma survival persist in a contemporary patient cohort staged with the latest prognostic system. These data may guide decision marking regarding adjuvant therapy, highlight the importance of including sex as a pre-specified clinical trial variable, and suggest that investigation of underlying biologic mechanisms may drive discovery of biomarkers and therapeutic targets to improve patient care.
- AJCC staging
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