Desmoplastic malignant melanoma: a clinicopathological study of 25 cases

Authors

  • A. ANSTEY,

    1. St John's Dermatology Centre. St Thomas' Hospital, A London SEl 7EH. U.K.
    2. Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF4 4XW, U.K.
    3. Department of Histopathlogy, St Thomas' Hospital, London SEl 7EH, U.K.
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  • P. MCKEE,

    1. St John's Dermatology Centre. St Thomas' Hospital, A London SEl 7EH. U.K.
    2. Department of Histopathlogy, St Thomas' Hospital, London SEl 7EH, U.K.
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  • E. WILSON JONES

    1. Department of Dermatology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, U.K.
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Summary

Sixteen cases of malignant melanoma which showed prominent desmoplastic and/or neurotropic features occurring throughout the tumour were compiled from the St John's Dermatology Centre histopathological archives. A further nine melanomas in which both conventional and desmoplastic melanoma were present concomitantly were also studied (three tumours with 66% desmoplastic change, two with 50%, and four with less than 50%). There were 14 males and 11 females, with a mean age of 64 years (range 39–86). The mean interval between presentation and diagnosis was 8 months. Eighteen of the 25 tumours were located on the head and neck, three were on the trunk, one was on the upper limb and three were on the lower limb. Histological review revealed 21 of 25 tumours with overlying atypical lentiginous hyperplasia, lentigo maligna melanoma, or superficial spreading malignant melanoma. Neurotropism was present in nine tumours, with the changes confined to local recurrences in two instances; neuroid differentiation was present in four tumours, and neural and perineural tumour spread was present in four tumours. The depth of invasion exceeded 6 mm in seven tumours, and was 2–6 mm in 16, and less than 2 mm in two. Eighteen of the 25 tumours were incompletely excised at the time of the first excision. Lymphoid aggregates were present in 16 tumours, but in most cases were limited to a few lymphoid foci. Melanin was identified in the dermal component of only five tumours, but not in areas showing typical histological features of desmoplastic malignant melanoma. Treatment was by surgical excision in all cases, and was preceded by radiotherapy in one case. Details of follow-up were obtained in all cases, and the duration ranged from 9 months to 10 years (mean, 3 years 11 months). Eleven patients had died: nine from melanoma and two from other causes. One patient was alive, with deep, inoperable local recurrence. Thirteen patients were alive and clinically free from tumour, including two patients in whom there had been local recurrence. A lower rate of neurotropism was present in the nine patients with partial desmoplastic change compared with those with desmoplastic change throughout the tumour, and represented the only significant difference between the two groups of patients.

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