Background In several studies an increased risk for development of breast cancer, malignant lymphoma and neoplasms of the kidney as second primary cancers in patients with cutaneous melanomas was discussed.
Objectives To determine the risk for development of second primary neoplasms in patients with cutaneous melanomas.
Methods A prospective study was performed between 1977 and 1992 to evaluate the occurrence of second primary malignancies in 4597 patients (2083 men, 2514 women) with invasive cutaneous melanomas, diagnosed and treated at the Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.
Results During a median follow-up of 7·2 years, 296 of 4597 patients (6·4%) developed one or more neoplasms at the time of or subsequent to the diagnosis of the first cutaneous melanoma. More than half of these patients developed one or more further melanomas (152, 3·3%). Cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, rectum and kidney occurred less frequently. Statistical calculations revealed a 33·8-fold increased risk for the development of a second melanoma in the entire group [relative risk 38·5 for men (95% CI, 30·4–48·1), 29·0 for women (95% CI, 22·0–37·5)]. Moreover, a significantly increased risk for the development of kidney carcinoma in men was found [relative risk 3·5 (95% CI, 1·4–7·2)].
Conclusions Thorough follow-up and skin examination in patients with cutaneous melanomas is recommended for early detection of other primary melanomas. Furthermore, ultrasound examinations routinely performed in melanoma patients for the detection of melanoma metastases may also be of value for early detection of kidney carcinomas in male patients.