• melanoma;
  • conditional survival;
  • SEER



Conditional survival (CS) has emerged as a clinically relevant measure of prognosis for cancer survivors. The objective of this analysis was to provide melanoma-specific CS estimates to help clinicians promote more informed patient decision making.


Patients with melanoma and at least 5 years of follow-up were identified from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results registry (1988-2000). By using the methods of Kaplan and Meier, stage-specific, 5-year CS estimates were independently calculated for survivors for each year after diagnosis. Stage-specific multivariate Cox regression models including baseline survivor functions were used to calculate adjusted melanoma-specific CS for different subgroups of patients further stratified by age, gender, race, marital status, anatomic tumor location, and tumor histology.


Five-year CS estimates for patients with stage I disease remained constant at 97% annually, while for patients with stages II, III, and IV disease, 5-year CS estimates from time 0 (diagnosis) to 5 years improved from 72% to 86%, 51% to 87%, and 19% to 84%, respectively. Multivariate CS analysis revealed that differences in stages II through IV CS based on age, gender, and race decreased over time.


Five-year melanoma-specific CS estimates improve dramatically over time for survivors with advanced stages of disease. These prognostic data are critical to patients for both treatment and nontreatment related life decisions. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.