August 1st 2004
The relationship between age andmelanoma prognosis is growingmore apparent and presentsinteresting scientific and social questions.My colleagues and I publishedtwo papers analyzing melanoma patientsfrom our institution. Our firstpaper examined a population of 620patients during a 26-year period, andour most recent paper analyzed 1,018melanoma patients over 30 years.[1,2]In both of these studies, age remainedan important prognostic predictor ofdisease-free and disease-specific survivalbased on multivariate analysis(Cox proportional hazard). We alsoapplied a novel classification and regressiontree (CART) evaluation ofthe data that showed age maintaininga significant influence on disease-freesurvival. Age maintained importancein disease-specific survival when genderwas used as the first parameter tosegregate the entire patient populationbefore applying tree-structuredstatistics.