Geometric cutaneous melanoma: a helpful clinical sign of malignancy?

Dermatol Surg 2003 Aug;29(8):827-8; discussion 829

Department of Dermatology, Queen's Medical Center, University Hospital, Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Background: Malignant melanomas change shape in a random pattern, with ovoid, crescentic, or nodular shapes seen most frequently. We have observed a number of malignant melanomas that have presented with a geometric, angular shape and have noted that pigmented lesions with this configuration are often found to be malignant. We present 20 patients with malignant melanoma whose lesion displayed a geometric, angular shape.

Methods: Before excision for formal histopathology, all lesions were scored using the seven-point checklist and ABCDE systems and were divided into low-risk or significant risk of melanoma.

Results: Five different geometric shapes were observed. Depending on the scoring system employed, 20% to 40% of the geometric melanomas were considered to be of low risk of malignancy.

Conclusion: The development of geometrical angular patterns in a malignant melanoma may represent a morphologic growth pattern that can be used as a clinical risk sign. Even apparently benign low-risk lesions with a geometric shape may pose a significant risk of malignant melanoma. By definition, the majority of lesions that are morphologically geometric are symmetrical in shape, which is more in favor of a benign diagnosis. This may increase the likelihood that early cutaneous melanomas with a geometric shape may be missed. Any pigmented lesion with a geometric configuration should raise the clinician's suspicion of malignancy even if considered otherwise to be of low risk by the standard melanoma checklists.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1524-4725.2003.29216.xDOI Listing
August 2003

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