Melanoma Characteristics in Patients with a History of UV Tanning Bed Usage

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of tanning bed use on the behavior of subsequent melanomas.

Methods: Cases of invasive cutaneous melanoma who completed a baseline questionnaire within 1 year of biopsy were ascertained using an institutional registry. Patients were categorized into one of two groups: (1) no history of UV tanning bed usage or (2) any history of tanning bed usage. Data analysis looked for group differences on the following variables: TNM staging, mitotic rate, family history of melanoma, and basic demographic variables.

Results: Among 141 cases, a higher percentage of women (48.28%) reported tanning bed usage compared to men (26.51%, P < .01). Additionally, the average age at biopsy for people who reported tanning bed usage was significantly lower compared to those who had not reported using a tanning bed. There was no significant difference in stage at presentation (P = .56). Those with tanning bed usage presented significantly less often with melanoma of unknown primary (MUP). After controlling for the effects of gender and nodal status, tanning bed usage was not a significant independent predictor of 5 year overall survival.

Conclusions: If we remove the subject with MUP on the basis that more of these are mucosal in origin, lower TNM stage at presentation are found in patients with no tanning bed melanoma compared to those with history of tanning bed usage. In addition, tanning bed patients are younger and more likely female but with an equivalent mortality rate.