5 year old child with Spitzoid Melanoma

Posted By
7/21/2014 3:14am
Replies: 8

My baby was just diagnosed with Spitzoid Melanoma on Wednesday. He is at the Huntsman Cancer Institute with Dr. Andtabackca. His surgery will be August 5th but on August 4th they will inject a radioactive dye into his tumor site on his back. They have not given a stage yet. Is that to be determined after the surgery? He had had the tumor for a year and half. The pediatrician thought it was a wart at first, but then it never went away. Any advice on what I should be doing to help my son. I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so any words of advice/encouragement will be gratefully welcomed!


i know that it is very difficult to differentiate between bengn spitz tumors and melanoma even among expert pathologists, so I would make sure the tumor gets a second opinion with a really good pathologist. With my son his was dx twice as melanoma but still sent to an expert (Dr Mihm in Boston I believe) for a third opinion.

Some doctors/researchers don't even use the term "spitzoid melanoma" believing either it is a benign spitz tumor or melanoma. I am assuming they will do a sentnal node biopsy to determine if anything has spread to lymph nodes. It is also possible that benign tumors can show up in lmph nodes, mimicing melanama. Which is another reason to make sure what the original tumor was.

Im no expert..but I have done alot of googling on the subject.

Wishing you well


Ps..This article about childhood melanoma is kind of long, but I found very informative


Anonymous - (7/21/2014 - 3:27pm)

actually the best expert is Boris Bastian at UCSF. Have the slides reviewed for sure.  This is often benigh.

Yes, I also agree about Boris Bastian. He tested my sons tumor for gene mutations and his team was very responsive. I know he is an expert on spitz vs melanoma.

If Dr. Antebacka hasn't suggested a second opinion by Dr. Boris Bastian, Dr. Bowen at Huntsman would have. They are friends and dr. Bowen has told me in the past that that is what he would do with a Spitz Nevus  diagnosis. If the diagnosis has already been confirmed, then the next step is to test the sentinel node to see if the lesion has spread.  Final staging couldn't happen until at least the node biopsy is done.  Dr. Antebacka is a melanoma specialist but pediatric melanoma is still very rare.

there are other pediatric melanoma patients on here and I also know of a Facebook group as well.

Uofsf just confirmed again today that it is malignant melanoma. The fish test said that no genetics are involved. Dr. Andtabackca said there was no swelling of his lymph nodes and from what he could tell there was no sign that it had spread just from looking at him. I hope he is right on that note! He is going to do the sentinel node test and then remove his tissue all on August 5th. This has been pretty hard to wait to know some more answers. Thank you for the link, I just looked it up and there was great information. Any other good links out there? I feel likei do not know very much and I would like to learn all I can. Would you recommend Dr. ANDTABACKCA? I want the best Dr. Of course. Should I ask him for a second opinion?

You can get a second opinion, but I'm not sure who that would be in SLC.  Dirk Noyes is also a surgical oncologist specializing in melanoma.  I doubt there are any pediatric specialists, that probably falls under dr. A.  He was also the onc for the VA where my dad saw him.  At this point, I'm not sure what a second opinion would provide.  I'd probably have the SNB here.  If the results are positive and you are considering treatment options, THAT is when I'd want as much input as possible.  If the SNB is negative, then I'd probably follow up locally.  How deep was the primary?

I am assuming the primary means how deep the lesion is? :) The local Dermatologist thought it to be 1.6mm at least. He has had it for about a year and a half.