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Am J Clin Pathol. 2008 Nov;130(5):715-23. doi: 10.1309/AJCPG4QZHLWFXMFJ.

Cytologic features of metastatic and recurrent melanoma in patients with primary cutaneous desmoplastic melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, Sydney, Australia.


Desmoplastic melanoma (DM) is a rare subtype of melanoma characterized by malignant spindle cells associated with prominent fibrocollagenous stroma. Primary melanomas may be entirely desmoplastic ("pure" DM) or exhibit a desmoplastic component admixed with a nondesmoplastic component ("combined" DM). The cytologic features of only 5 cases of DM have been reported previously. Fine-needle biopsy (FNB) specimens from 20 recurrent or metastatic lesions in patients with cutaneous DM and 20 recurrent or metastatic lesions from patients with primary cutaneous non-DM were examined and compared. FNB specimens of patients with DM were less cellular (P = .009) and less often exhibited intranuclear cytoplasmic invaginations (P = .008) and mitotic figures (P = .006) than specimens from patients with non-DM. "Combined" DMs were more commonly composed of epithelioid cells (P = .017) and less often contained bizarre/giant tumor cells (P = .010) than did "pure" DMs. Recurrent and metastatic DM has a range of cytologic appearances. Awareness of the cytologic features and careful clinicopathologic correlation will assist in accurate FNB diagnosis.

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