Timeline of melanoma
This is a timeline of melanoma, describing especially major discoveries and advances in treatment against the disease.
|Prior to 1750||Hippocrates is considered to be the first to record a description of melanoma, which he describes as melas, meaning dark, and oma, meaning tumor, in Greek. Later on, Highmore (1651) and Bonet (1651), among others, make numerous references to “fatal black tumors with metastases and black fluid in the body”.|
|1750s–1830s||Period of first operations and definition of melanoma as a disease. John Hunter is recorded as the first to operate on a patient and Laennec is the first to distinguish melanoma as a disease separate from others. Carswell introduces the term melanoma.|
|1840s–1900s||Knowledge progresses in treatment. Surgical anesthesia is adopted, and guidelines for surgical treatment against melanoma consolidate. Advanced melanoma is recognized as untreatable.|
|Twentieth century||The etiology and genetic involvement in melanoma are discovered. Characteristics like skin, hair and eye color are found to have impact on melanoma development. Driver genetic mutations in melanoma are discovered.|
|1970s–1990s||A growing number of studies in this period suggest that sun exposure plays an important role in the development of some melanomas. In the 1980s, the public health community and advocacy groups begin cautioning the public about the potential risks of sun exposure. Dermoscopy becomes available in the 1990s.|
|Present time||Today, melanoma is treated by surgery, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Melanoma is more common in areas that are mostly Caucasian.|
|Year/period||Type of event||Event||Location|
|1757||Development||Scottish surgeon John Hunter is credited with the first surgical removal of a melanoma in the Western medical literature, having successfully removed a recurrent melanoma from the jaw of a 35-year-old man.||London, United Kingdom|
|1804||Discovery||French physician Rene Laennec coines the term melanose, being the first to realize that melanoma is a distinct disease.||Paris, France|
|1820||Discovery||British physician William Norris is the first to note the heritable nature of some melanomas, some 50 years before Mendel presents his work on inheritance.||United Kingdom|
|1826||Book||Thomas Fawdington publishes A Case of Melanosis, with General Observations on the Pathology of the Interesting Disease.||United Kingdom|
|1829||Development||French anatomist Jean Cruveilhier publishes Anatomie Pathologique du Corps Humain, being the first to describe melanomas of the hand, foot and vulva.||Paris, France|
|1838||Development||Scottish pathologist Robert Carswell publishes Illustrations of the Elementary Forms of Disease, which includes detailed drawings of melanoma metastases. Carswell is credited with coining the word melanoma.||London, United Kingdom|
|1840–1844||Development||British surgeon Samuel Cooper publishes The First Lines of the Theory and Practice of Surgery. Cooper recognizes that the advanced stages of melanomas are untreatable, stating "the only chance for benefit depends upon the early removal of the disease…", which is largely true to this day.||London, United Kingdom|
|1851||Development||Report in medical journal The Lancet describes surgical anesthesia being available for the first time.|
|1853||Development||English surgeon James Paget describes the transition of melanoma from a radial growth phase to a vertical growth phase.||London, United Kingdom|
|1892||Development||British surgeon Herbert Snow advocates in favor of melanoma being treated by excision and anticipatory gland excision.||United Kingdom|
|1905||Development||Scottish physician William Handley analyzes the lymphatic spread of secondary melanoma on a woman’s leg. Handley suggests the surround subcutaneous tissue and lymph nodes should be removed, thus guiding the surgical treatment for melanoma for the next 50 years.|
|1956||Discovery||Australian mathematician Henry Lancaster makes the first connection between UV radiation exposure from the sun and the incidence of melanoma. Lancaster observes that the risk of melanoma development, particularly in light skin populations, is directly associated with latitude or the intensity of sunlight.|
|1961||Development||Isolated limb perfusion technique is introduced to help doctors deliver higher than usual doses of chemotherapy to an arm or leg where melanoma tumors have spread.||United States|
|1965||Organization||The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is founded as an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization of the United Nations. Its role is to conduct and coordinate research into the causes of cancer.||Lyon, France|
|1968||Discovery||Researchers first report an association between pancreatic cancer and multiple nevi, and melanoma.|
|1968||Report||A review of 650 melanoma describes intra-arterial melphalan as being the most effective systemic treatment available for widely disseminated melanoma.||United Kingdom|
|1970||Development||Depth of invasion is first reported as a prognostic factor in melanoma by pathologist Alexander Breslow. The Breslow's depth develops as a standard prognostic factor in melanoma of the skin, until its replacement by the AJCC staging system.||George Washington University, United States|
|1975||Policy||FDA approves dacarbazine for stage IV melanoma.||United States|
|1978||Discovery||Researchers identify hereditary Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma Syndrome, which is associated with an approximately 50 percent risk of developing melanoma by age 50.|
|1979||Organization||The Skin Cancer Foundation is established. Its goal is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer by means of public and professional education, medical training, and research.||New York City, United States|
|1980–1989||Discovery||Researchers begin to demonstrate that protein interferon alfa-2b can help reduce melanoma recurrences after surgery by boosting the immune system.|
|1983||Discovery||Less extensive surgery is found effective for removing melanoma tumors. Instead of removing up to two inches of skin and tissue surrounding a tumor, clinical trials show that margins of three quarters of an inch or less around the tumor are sufficient. This refinement makes recovery easier and helps reduce the cosmetic impact of surgery.|
|1984||Discovery||Activating NRAS mutations are first identified in melanoma cell lines, and subsequently in short-term cell cultures grown from a melanoma patient.|
|1987||Development||Scientists first develop an experimental procedure called adoptive cell transfer, in which one or more of the patient's tumors are removed and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes are extracted, which are then grown in a laboratory to boost their ability to fight the cancer and are returned to the patient, often in combination with chemotherapy. This personalized immunotherapy approach is shown to shrink melanoma tumors in about half of patients whose tumor infiltrating lymphocytes are successfully treated in the laboratory.|
|1992||Development||Surgical technique called sentinel lymph node biopsy is introduced to assess the spread of melanoma to nearby lymph nodes.|
|1996||Policy||Interferon alfa-2b drug is approved as first adjuvant treatment for patients who have a high risk of melanoma recurrence after their tumors are surgically removed.|
|1998||Development||Second immunotherapy drug Interleukin-2 (IL-2), becomes available to treat patients with advanced melanoma.|
|2002||Discovery||Researchers learn that melanomas occurring in areas of the body not exposed to the sun may be genetically different than those arising in sun-exposed areas.|
|2002||Discovery||Systematic genetic screen identifies activating BRAF mutations in the majority of human cutaneous melanomas.|
|2005||Discovery||Studies show that cases of all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, are increasing in children and young adults.|
|2008||Discovery||Dermoscopy, which involves direct, microscopic examination of moles and skin lesions, is found more accurate than a doctor's visual examination for identifying potential melanomas on the surface of the skin.|
|2008||Organization||AIM at Melanoma Foundation is established as a non-profit international organization focused on increasing support for melanoma research.||Plano, Texas, United States|
|2009||Report||A review of U.S. National Cancer Institute data shows that the number of new cases of melanoma increased 45 percent among non-Hispanic whites between 1992 and 2004.||United States|
|2009||Study||Researchers from The Cancer Genome Atlas project begin mapping the melanoma genome. With use of modern techniques to catalog the genetic defects associated with different cancers, the goal is to improve prevention, early detection, and treatment against melanoma.||United States|
|2010||Discovery||The drug ipilimumab is found to improve survival and delay disease progression in patients whose advanced melanoma progresses despite other therapies. It is the first drug shown to improve survival for patients with advanced melanoma.|
|2010||Discovery||After reviewing more than 2,000 patient records, researchers conclude that people who use indoor tanning beds are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than non-users. Based on this, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declares that tanning devices are carcinogens.|
|2011||Discovery||BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib is found to confer a survival benefit in randomized phase III clinical trials against melanoma.|
|2014||Organization||Australian Melanoma Research Foundation is established. It provides services to the public, including a daily measurement of UV levels in Australian cities (Australia has a very high rate of melanoma).|
- Timeline of leukemia
- Timeline of lung cancer
- Timeline of brain cancer
- Timeline of lymphoma
- Timeline of global health
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