Cutaneous malignant melanoma in teenagers


Address for correspondence: Dr S.W. McCarthy, Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW, Australia 2050.


Of 57 reviewed cases of malignant melanoma in teenagers, 51 had a minimum follow-up of 5 years. The histological and some clinical features of the 51 cases were compared for diagnostic and prognostic significance with those of 19 Spitz naevi and 10 other benign naevi using the SPSS-X computer program. The overall crude survival was 71% (males 64%, females 81%). Five patients with regional metastases survived more than 5 years, three of these more than 10 years. The main statistically significant features associated with a poor prognosis were Breslow thickness, diameter of ulcer, abnormal mitoses, pushing dermal borders and marginal (deep) mitoses. In comparison with Spitz naevi, features favouring malignancy were Breslow thickness, fine dusty cytoplasmic melanin pigment, marginal or abnormal mitoses, epithelioid intra-epidermal melanocytes below parakeratosis, dermal nests larger than junctional nests and the mitotic rate in the papillary dermis. Features favouring a benign lesion were diffuse maturation, spindle cells, spindle nuclei and Kamino bodies, especially if numerous or clustered. In comparison with the atypical benign naevi, significant features favouring malignancy were marginal or abnormal mitoses, single cell epidermal invasion below parakeratosis, large nuclei and irregular nuclei.