The dynamics of death in melanoma
Article first published online: 17 OCT 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Journal of Cutaneous Pathology
Volume 39, Issue 12, pages 1075–1082, December 2012
How to Cite
The dynamics of death in melanoma..
- Issue published online: 26 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 17 OCT 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 24 SEP 2012 09:05AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 MAR 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 29 FEB 2012
- Manuscript Received: 13 MAY 2011
- hazard function;
Melanoma has been recently characterized as an over-diagnosed tumor, and some have suggested that the ‘epidemic’ in melanoma is spurious. Nevertheless, a fraction of melanoma patients continue to die of this tumor. For any tumor, the hazard function provides information about the timing and intensity of fatalities, and to examine the details of fatality in melanoma, herein the hazard functions for melanoma are derived and examined.
Data for this study came from the SEER data base, from AJCC data and from previously published studies of melanoma, and the hazard function was derived using the sum of two gamma functions and a nonlinear least-squares fitting algorithm.
The derived hazard functions for melanoma peak at 1–3 years, a result that implies a form of rapidly evolving and fatal melanoma that is not consistently identified by routine prognostic factors. Yet in recent years the hazard function for all melanomas has declined suggesting that much of the epidemic in melanoma is due to non-fatal tumors.
Analyses of the hazard functions in a large number of melanoma patients has uncovered details about the dynamics of death that otherwise are not apparent.