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Adv Anat Pathol. 2005 Mar;12(2):92-102.

Cutaneous desmoplastic melanoma.

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Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


Desmoplastic melanoma (DM) is a fibrosing variant of spindle cell melanoma. It most often presents as an indurated lesion in chronically sun-damaged skin. Due to the lack of characteristic clinical features, early detection is uncommon. At the time of excision, the tumors usually extend into the reticular dermis or deeper. DM is prone to misdiagnosis. It may simulate histologically sclerosing melanocytic nevi as well as various benign and malignant nonmelanocytic lesions. There is significant morphologic variability among tumors classified as DM. Desmoplasia may be prominent throughout the entire tumor ("pure" DM) or represent a portion of an otherwise nondesmoplastic melanoma ("combined" DM). Some tumors show neuroma-like features with prominent nerve involvement, in which case the term "desmoplastic neurotropic melanoma" is used. Immunophenotypically, DMs are usually strongly and homogeneously positive for S-100 protein but are often negative or only focally positive for melanocyte differentiation antigens such as tyrosinase, gp100, Melan-A, and microphthalmia transcription factor. DM differs from conventional melanoma in its clinical course. It is associated with a higher tendency for local recurrence, but metastases to regional lymph nodes are less common. Evidence is also emerging that for patients with thick melanomas, the presence of a paucicellular fibrosing tumor histology (pure DM) is a favorable prognostic factor for survival.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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