For your review: Desmoplastic melanoma

Nicolson NG, Han D. Desmoplastic melanoma. J Surg Oncol. 2019 Jan;119(2):208-215. doi: 10.1002/jso.25317. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

Desmoplastic melanoma (DM) is a rare melanoma variant that has unique biology and pathology compared with conventional melanoma (non-DM). Importantly, DM is classified into pure and mixed histologic subtypes, which have been correlated with outcomes. Management of DM broadly mirrors that of non-DM; however, there are unique considerations for DM that influence treatment approaches. This paper will provide a contemporary overview of this disease and will review the literature regarding the management of DM.


Chen LL, Jaimes N, Barker CA, Busam KJ, Marghoob AA. Desmoplastic melanoma: a review. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 May;68(5):825-33.

Full-text for Emory users.

Desmoplastic melanoma (DM) is a variant of spindle cell melanoma typically found on chronically sun-damaged skin of older individuals. Early diagnosis can be challenging because it is often amelanotic and has a predominantly dermal component. DM can be difficult to diagnose not only clinically but also histologically, and can be mistaken for a variety of benign and malignant nonmelanocytic spindle cell tumors when viewed on prepared histopathology slides. Pathologists have observed that DMs can manifest significant variation with respect to the extent of intratumoral cellularity, fibrosis, and/or perineural invasion. Furthermore, some tumors present with a pure desmoplastic invasive component (>90%) while other tumors display mixed features of DM and nondesmoplastic melanoma. This has led to the separation of DM into 2 histologic subtypes, pure and mixed. With a focus on the distinction between pure and mixed DM, this review will detail what is currently known about the diagnostic features of DM, discuss risk and prognostic factors, and examine the current literature on disease progression and management.


See also: DynaMed [Internet]. Ipswich (MA): EBSCO Information Services. Melanoma; [updated 2018 Dec 04, cited 2021 Apr 23]. Registration and login required.

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