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Melanoma Treatment

Melanoma is a skin cancer. Most melanomas start in skin cells that make a pigment called melanin. This cancer can also occur in the eye. If melanoma is not treated, it can spread to other parts of the body.
Children with melanoma may have 1 of 3 types:

  • Conventional melanoma (CM)
  • Spitzoid melanoma (SM)
  • Melanoma that arises in a large congenital melanocytic nevus (CNM)

People with more melanin and darker skin are less likely to develop melanoma. People with less melanin and lighter skin are more likely to develop melanoma. While childhood melanoma is rare, it is the most common skin cancer in children and teens.

Find out more about melanoma on the Together by St. Jude™ online resource. 

Treatment of melanoma

When possible, a surgeon removes the melanoma and any affected lymph nodes. When surgery is not an option, patients may be treated with:

Melanoma clinical trials

St. Jude offers clinical trials and cancer research studies for children, teens, and young adults with melanoma. Learn more about clinical research at St. Jude.

3CAR: B7-H3-specific CAR T-cell Therapy for Children and Young Adults with Solid Tumors

Study goal:

The main purpose of 3CAR is to find out if this type of immunotherapy is safe for pediatric patients with solid tumors. We also want to learn if it is effective in fighting solid tumors.


Up to 21 years old

MACMEL: A Study to Analyze Melanoma Lesions in Children and Teens

Study goal:

Researchers in this study want to learn more about melanoma tumors in children and adolescents. They want to understand the different types of tumors better and learn how each type responds to treatment. They also want to find out why some children and teens are more likely to develop melanoma. Doctors hope this information will help them decide which melanoma treatments are most effective. They also hope to use this information to develop new treatments for children with melanoma.


Up to 18 years old

PAINBDY1: Treating Pain in Children with Cancer: Pain Buddy

Study goal:

The main goal of this research study is to help us learn how to better treat pain and symptoms in children going through chemotherapy cancer treatment.


8 to 18 years old

Melanoma care at St. Jude

  • Our center has been involved in researching melanoma for more than 20 years. Using next-generation whole genome sequencing, scientists involved with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital–Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project have characterized the genetic changes of various types of melanoma in children.
  • St. Jude was 1 of the first centers to use sentinel node biopsy for melanoma.
  • We offer imaging with PET (positron emission tomography) and lymphoscintigraphy (used to map sentinel lymph nodes, which are the first nodes to receive lymph from a tumor).
  • A recently completed clinical trial at St. Jude was the first study to use a medicine called pegylated alpha-interferon in children with high-risk melanoma.
  • Another study is offered to melanoma patients with a mutation (genetic change) in the BRAF gene. A new medicine has been designed to target the BRAF mutation. This mutation is involved in about 50% (1 in 2) of all melanomas.
  • We also offer other therapies, such as intralesional therapies and hyperthermic limb perfusion.

More reasons to choose St. Jude for care include:

  • We are consistently ranked among the best childhood cancer centers in the nation by US News & World Report. 
  • At St. Jude, we have created an environment where children can be children and families can be together.  
  • We lead more clinical trials for childhood cancer than any other hospital in the U.S.  
  • St. Jude is the only National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center just for children. A Comprehensive Cancer Center meets rigorous standards for research that develops new and better approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. 
  • The nurse-to-patient ratio at St. Jude is about 1:3 in hematology and oncology and 1:1 in the Intensive Care Unit. 
  • Patients may be able to get expert, compassionate care and treatment closer to their homes through the St. Jude Affiliate Program. 
A statue of children running and holding hands

Seeking treatment at St. Jude

Patients accepted to St. Jude must have a disease we treat and must be referred by a physician or other qualified medical professional. We accept most patients based on their ability to enroll in an open clinical trial.

How to seek treatment

Contact the Physician / Patient Referral Office

Call: 1-888-226-4343 (toll-free) or 901-595-4055 (local)  | Fax: 901-595-4011 | Email: | 24-hour pager: 1-800-349-4334

The solid tumor coordinator is dedicated to helping you seek treatment or refer a patient.

Solid Tumor Coordinator


Learn more