Epidermal dynamics and patterns of intraepidermal melanoma


  • Robin T. Vollmer

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory Medicine (113), VAMC, Durham, NC, USA
    2. Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
    • Robin T. Vollmer

      Laboratory Medicine (113), VAMC, 508 Fulton St, Durham, NC 27705, USA

      Tel: +1 919 286 0411

      Fax: +1 919 286 6818

      e-mail: Robin.Vollmer@med.va.gov

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Dermatopathologists know that the epidermis represents a dynamic compartment and that its cells mature from the basal layer to the skin surface in approximately 45 days. What may seem intuitive – but not obvious – is that the dynamics of the epidermis can affect the patterns of melanoma cells within the epidermis. Here this conjecture is explored with an abstract, theoretical model.


To control the independent effects of epidermal replacement velocity and thickness as well as rate of melanoma cell penetration of the epidermis, an abstraction of the epidermis was created and simulated via computer.


Simulated plots of the epidermis show that the number and pattern of melanoma cells in the epidermis is affected by the probability of melanoma cells entering the epidermis, by the velocity of epidermal replacement and by epidermal thickness.


This analysis suggests that the dynamics of the epidermis are sufficient to affect the patterns of melanoma cells within the epidermis.