Population screening for malignant melanoma is not supported by current evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs), concludes a newly updated Cochrane review.
The review examined the evidence for the benefits and harms of screening for malignant melanoma compared with no screening and included all types of screening (regardless of modality) of any person not suspected of having malignant melanoma, irrespective of age or gender. Studies in people with a genetic disposition for malignant melanoma (e.g. familial atypical mole and melanoma syndrome) and studies performed exclusively in people with previous melanomas were excluded.
Two studies with 64,391 participants met the criteria. The first study was a randomised trial of an intervention developed to increase the rate of performance of thorough skin self‐examination. The second study was a pilot study for a cluster RCT of population‐based screening for malignant melanoma in Australia.
However, neither of the studies were able to provide the necessary data on any of the key pre-specified outcomes; therefore, it was not possible to estimate an effect of screening. The review concluded that population screening is not recommended.
The researchers said a rigorously conducted RCT is needed, which assesses overall mortality, overdiagnosis, psychosocial consequences and resource use.