Malignant melanoma and pregnancy: second thoughts

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2010 Jul;63(7):1163-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2009.05.050. Epub 2009 Jul 9.


Malignant melanoma (MM) was considered a hormone-sensitive tumour, and pregnancy was thought to increase its risk and cause faster progression and earlier metastasis. Several controlled studies demonstrated similar survival rates between pregnant and non-pregnant patients and concluded that early reports of advanced MM of pregnancy were probably due to late diagnosis. We retrieved information from our database between 1997 and 2006 on all patients diagnosed as having MM during and up to 6 months after pregnancy (n=11) and compared them to age-matched, non-pregnant, MM patients (n=65, controls) treated by us during that period. The mean Breslow thickness was 4.28mm for the pregnant patients and 1.69mm for the controls (p=0.15). The sentinel nodes were metastatic in five pregnant patients compared to four controls (p<0.0001). Two patients in the pregnancy group and one control died of MM (p=0.0532). Our results indicate a negative effect of pregnancy on the course of MM.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*