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June 1985

Effect of Prior Pregnancy on Melanoma Survival

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Department of Dermatology Massachusetts General Hospital Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(6):716. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660060028012

To the Editor.—  Women who have been pregnant before the diagnosis of their cutaneous melanoma have been reported to have a greater survival rate than that noted for nulligravida women. The longer survival was said to be greater in women older than 50 years. Hersey et al1 postulated that the exposure of women during pregnancy to foreign antigens may, in some way, result in enhanced resistance to their tumor.A review of 301 clinical stage I women with cutaneous melanoma (prospective consecutive series—Melanoma Clinical Cooperative Group—Massachusetts General Hospital and New York University [1972-1977]) revealed that neither the five-nor nine-year survival rates were statistically different when the nulligravida and the prior pregnancy groups were compared. The nine-year survival rate for the 92 never pregnant women was 87% compared to 83% for the 199 parous women.Of the 141 women older than 50 years, the nine-year survival rates were 86%

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