Clinical Characteristics in Early Childhood Associated with a Nevus-Prone Phenotype in Adults from Tropical Australia: Two Decades of Follow-Up of the Townsville Preschool Cohort Study
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Having numerous melanocytic nevi increases melanoma risk. Few studies have enumerated nevi in children and re-examined them as adults. We aimed to determine if childhood nevus-counts predict nevus-prone adults, and further explore the relevance of host-factors and sun-exposure. Fifty-one Caucasian residents of Townsville (19.16° S, Queensland, Australia) had full-body nevus-counts aged 1–6 and 21–31 years-old. Sun-exposure was determined from questionnaires. Children in the upper-quartile of
... us-counts acquired nevi more rapidly than those in the bottom-quartile (13.3 versus 4.7 nevi/year; p < 0.0005). Children sunburnt before 7 years-old acquired more incident nevi by adulthood (238 versus 126, p = 0.003) particularly if sunburn was severe (321 versus 157.5, p = 0.003) or erythema occurred annually (380 versus 132, p = 0.008). Fair-skinned, freckled children with some nevi ≥ 3 mm, solar lentigines, or a family history of melanoma acquired more incident nevi than children without these attributes. Nevus-prone adults exhibit distinguishing features earlier in life (<7 years-old in Queensland) than has been shown previously. In addition to intervening with sun-protection counselling early enough to reduce risk, being able to reliably triage children into high- and low melanoma-risk groups may inform more efficacious and cost-effective targeted-screening in melanoma-prone populations. Further longitudinal research is needed to confirm that these attributes can reliably separate risk-groups.