Purpose: To investigate racial and ethnic differences in the incidence of conjunctival melanoma in a large population-based study.
Design: Observational cross-sectional study.
Methods: Using data from 1992 through 2003 provided by the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, we calculated age-adjusted incidence rates of conjunctival melanoma in various racial and ethnic groups (Black, American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White). In addition, we calculated the standard incidence ratios (risk ratios) and 95% confidence intervals to describe the differences within these racial and ethnic groups.
Results: From 1992 through 2003, there were a total of 168 conjunctival melanomas diagnosed in 13 SEER registries with known racial and ethnic groups. The annual age-adjusted incidence rates (per million population) of conjunctival melanoma was 0.18 (Blacks), 0.17 (American Indians), 0.15 (Asians), 0.33 (Hispanics), and 0.49 (non-Hispanic Whites). The difference in the incidence of conjunctival melanoma between Whites and Blacks or Asians was statistically significant, but was not significant between Blacks and Asians.
Conclusions: The overall White-to-Black incidence ratio in conjunctival melanoma was 2.6:1, which is much less than that of uveal melanoma (18:1) and cutaneous melanoma (13:1 to 26:1), but is similar to that of mucosal melanoma (2.2:1 to 2.3:1). The cause and significance of this difference of racial and ethnic incidence in various melanomas are discussed.