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Incidence trends of conjunctival malignant melanoma in Canada
  1. Feras M Ghazawi1,2,
  2. Rami Darwich3,
  3. Michelle Le4,5,
  4. Abdulhadi Jfri4,5,
  5. Elham Rahme6,
  6. Julia Valdemarin Burnier7,
  7. Denis Sasseville4,5,
  8. Miguel N Burnier Jr7,
  9. Ivan V Litvinov1,5,7
  1. 1 Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  4. 4 Dermatology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  5. 5 Dermatology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  6. 6 Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  7. 7 Cancer Research Program, McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan V Litvinov, Dermatology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada; ivan.litvinov{at}


Background Melanoma is the most common primary malignancy of the eye in adults. While the epidemiology of uveal melanoma has recently been described in Canada, little is known about the epidemiology and geographic distribution of patients with conjunctival melanoma (CM) in Canada.

Methods We conducted a population-based study of CM incidence across all Canadian provinces and territories during 1992–2010 using two independent population-based registries.

Results 190 patients were diagnosed with CM in Canada from 1992 to 2010. 55.3 % of these patients were men. The mean annual incidence rate of CM in Canada was 0.32 cases per million individuals (0.35 and 0.29 cases per million individuals for men and women, respectively). The incidence rates for Canadian provinces demonstrated that the eastern provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had higher age-adjusted incidence rates than the national average, with rates of 0.52 and 0.47 cases per million individuals per year, respectively.

Conclusions This analysis demonstrates novel variations in CM incidence rates between different Canadian provinces. These results taken together with the data reported from the USA confirm the North-to-South geographic gradient of increasing CM incidence. This research highlights that the epidemiology of CM in North America is comparable to that of cutaneous malignant melanoma in contrast to the trends for uveal melanoma distribution.

  • conjunctival melanoma
  • epidemiology in canada
  • incidence in canada
  • ultraviolet radiation (uvr) exposure
  • north to south incidence gradient

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  • Contributors FMG, RD and ML: obtained/tabulated the data and cowrote the paper; AJ: analysed the data and plotted the figures; ER: performed statistical analyses; JVB, DS, MNB and IVL: developed/supervised the study, analysed the data and cowrote the paper.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Cole Foundation Grant to Litvinov, Canadian Dermatology Foundation research grants to Sasseville and Litvinov and the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ# 34753 and 36769) research grants to Litvinov.

  • Disclaimer No funding bodies had any role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted in accordance with protocols approved by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Québec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS), respectively, with protocol numbers CISS-RDC-668035 and 13-SSH-MCG-3749-S001. In addition, this study received an exemption from the McGill University Research Ethics Board review.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data are available in a public, open access repository.

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