Did COVID-19 Diagnostic Delay Affect Melanoma, cSCC Characteristics?
No significant differences seen in mean primary melanoma Breslow thickness for prepandemic era, subsequent periods
By Dermsquared Editorial Team | August 03, 2022
The diagnostic delay associated with COVID-19 did not result in relatively more unfavorable primary tumor (pT) characteristics of melanoma or cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), according to a study published in the August issue of the British Journal of Dermatology .
Tobias E. Sangers, M.D., from the Erasmus MC Cancer Institute in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues compared pT stage, Breslow thickness, and invasion depth from before to after the first and second lockdown periods (including periods of pre-COVID-19; first lockdown; between first and second lockdowns; second lockdown; and after second lockdown) to examine the impact of delayed diagnostics on primary invasive melanoma and cSCC. Histopathology reports registered between Jan. 1, 2018, and July 22, 2021, were obtained from a nationwide histopathology registry for the Netherlands. Data were included for 20,434 primary invasive melanomas and 68,832 cSCCs.
The researchers observed no significant difference in mean primary melanoma Breslow thickness between the pre-COVID-19 era and the following time periods. There was a small shift toward unfavorable pT stages noted during the first lockdown versus the pre-COVID-19 era (pT1, 52.3 versus 58.6 percent; pT2, 18.9 versus 17.8 percent; pT3, 13.2 versus 11.0 percent; pT4, 9.1 versus 7.3 percent). In subsequent periods, there were no relevant changes observed. For cSCCs, there were no significant changes seen in pT stage distribution between the pre-COVID-19 and subsequent periods.
"This study revealed a limited impact of delayed diagnostics due to the COVID-19 pandemic on cSCC and melanoma tumor characteristics in the Netherlands," the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.