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J Dermatol. 2011 Jan;38(1):53-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2010.01132.x.

Key points in dermoscopic differentiation between lentigo maligna and solar lentigo.

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Tokyo Women's Medical University Medical Center East, Tokyo, Japan.


A clinical diagnosis of lentigo maligna at an early stage is often difficult even for experienced dermatologists. Differential diagnoses would include solar lentigo, early lesions of seborrheic keratosis, lichen planus-like keratosis, pigmented actinic keratosis and melanocytic nevus. Dermoscopy has been shown to have higher diagnostic accuracy, especially in the diagnosis of pigmented skin lesions, in the past two decades. To aim of the present study was to review the diagnostic key points on dermoscopy in the published work to differentiate lentigo maligna from other differential diagnoses and reassess these important features on dermoscopy for specificity by describing the findings in detail. Diagnostic key points for lentigo maligna/lentigo maligna melanoma on dermoscopy are asymmetrical pigmented follicular openings, rhomboidal structures, annular-granular structures and gray pseudo-network. Lentigo maligna, at first, seems to occur as asymmetrical pigmented follicular openings and/or annular-granular structures, then expand and develop into the rhomboidal structures. Annular-granular structures and gray pseudo-network seem to be observed also in regressive areas of solar lentigo/initial seborrheic keratosis, lichen planus-like keratosis and pigmented actinic keratosis. The four important criteria on dermoscopy for the diagnosis of lentigo maligna have been reviewed, and the former two criteria seem to be more specific, but it might be difficult to recognize these findings without misinterpretation. The latter two seem to be not so specific as they would also be demonstrated in other pigmented epidermal lesions, although the distribution of the structures in these disorders would be inclined to be more homogeneous than that of lentigo maligna.

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