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J Cutan Pathol. 1999 Mar;26(3):137-44.

Melanotic pigmentation in excision scars of melanocytic and non-melanocytic skin tumors.

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Dermatology Service, Instituto Valenciano de Oncologia, Valencia, Spain.


The appearance of pigmented lesions in melanoma surgical scars is a frequent finding that in some instances may cause confusion with a melanoma persistence. Nevertheless, only a few papers have dealt with this subject in the dermatologic literature. The melanoma surgical scars of 60 consecutive patients were reviewed with special attention to the presence of pigmentation and its clinical characteristics. Simultaneously, the scars of 60 consecutive patients who had been subjected to excision of a non-melanoma skin tumor were also studied. Biopsies were performed in representative clinical cases of pigmented lesions arising on the scars of both groups, as well as in non-pigmented scars, and processed for hematoxylin-eosin and immunohistochemistry. Pigmented lesions were present in a similar percentage in both groups (30% in melanoma scars (18/60) and 25% in non-melanoma scars (15/60)). Clinically, three types of clinical pigmentation were observed: lentigine-like lesions; pigmented streaks in scars after direct closure; and diffuse pigmentation in grafts. Histologically, two patterns emerged: one with lentiginous epidermal hyperplasia, hyperpigmentation, and a normal or moderately increased number of melanocytes; and a second one characterized by melanocytic hyperplasia of a variable degree. The scar process itself, irrespective of the tumor excised, seems to be responsible for the pigmentation. We suggest the existence of an induction process of scar tissue acting on melanocytes of the overlying epidermis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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