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Arch Dermatol. 2004 May;140(5):552-8.

Management of lentigo maligna and lentigo maligna melanoma with staged excision: a 5-year follow-up.

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  • 1Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.



To assess the long-term cure rate for treatment of lentigo maligna (LM) and lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM) by means of a staged, margin-controlled, vertical-edged excision with rush permanent specimens and a radial sectioning technique.


Retrospective follow-up study.


University-affiliated and private-practice dermatologic surgery clinics.


Fifty-nine patients treated for 55 LMs and 7 LMMs between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2001.


The technique included vertical excision with initial 2- to 3-mm margins examined by rush permanent sections (prepared and read within 24 hours). Further excision took place as guided by histologic findings. Data on patient and lesion characteristics were obtained via a medical chart review. Patients were then contacted and examined for local recurrence. Biopsies were performed on all patients with possible recurrence on clinical examination.


Local recurrence of LM or LMM.


After a mean follow-up of 57 months (median, 54 months; 293.8 person-years), 95% of patients were free of recurrence. Three patients had local recurrence and no patients had evidence of metastasis. Two of the 3 local recurrences were of previously excised LM, and 1 was of an LMM. Half (32) of all lesions required 2 or more stages. One required more than 4 stages. The average margin of excision was 0.55 cm. Three of the 58 lesions read as LM on biopsy were found to have invasive disease (LMM) at the time of definitive excision.


The technique described herein for the treatment of LM and LMM provides a long-term disease-free survival of 95%. The cure rate is greater than that reported for standard excision and is similar to that for other margin-control techniques. To our knowledge, this is the largest reported study and has the longest follow-up for this excision method for LM and LMM.

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