To examine stage-specific trends in the incidence and survival of cutaneous melanoma in the Netherlands between 2003 and 2018, as well as the uptake of the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) and novel drugs during that period.
Data were obtained from the nationwide population-based Netherlands Cancer Registry for all patients diagnosed with invasive primary cutaneous melanoma (n = 60,267). We presented age-standardized incidence rates, the proportion of patients with an SLNB, the proportion of patients who received a novel drug (for their primary diagnosis) and one- and five-year relative survival rates.
Between 2003 and 2018, the incidence rate increased from 10.9 to 23.9 for men and from 15.6 to 27.3 for women. This increase reflected the increasing incidence rate of patients with stage I and III. The proportion of patients with an SLNB increased from 23% to 64%. A reasonable increase was observed in the proportion of patients with a positive outcome (from 2% to 11%). For patients with stage IV, there was a shift from chemotherapy towards novel drugs as from 2013. The five-year relative survival rate increased from 81% to 92% for men and from 88% to 96% for women. This increase reflected the increasing five-year relative survival rate of patients with stage II, III, and IV.
We observed an increase in incidence for patients with stage I and III and an improvement in survival for patients with stage II, III and IV. These trends can be partly explained by the introduction of the SLNB and the novel drugs.