Histopathological diagnostics of malignant melanoma in accordance with the recent AJCC classification 2009: Review of the literature and recommendations for general practice.

06:00 EDT 10th June 2011 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Histopathological diagnostics of malignant melanoma in accordance with the recent AJCC classification 2009: Review of the literature and recommendations for general practice."

Background: TNM classifications are the basis for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in oncology. Histopathological reports have to enable a proper indexing of tumor specific findings into recent classifications. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed to identify reports dealing with the assessment of mitotic rate and the processing and evaluation of sentinel node biopsies in malignant melanoma. On the basis of this review an expert panel of dermatopathologists and general pathologists discussed and agreed recommendations for general practice. Results: Following recommendations were agreed with a broad consensus (93-100 % agreement): The determination of the mitotic rate in primary melanoma is performed on HE slides. The evaluation of an area of 1 mm(2) is sufficient. Only dermal mitoses are considered. The counted number of mitoses is provided as an integer value. The mitotic rate shall be determined in primary melanomas of ≤1.00 mm vertical tumor thickness according to the hot-spot method and provided as an integer value in relation to an area of 1 mm(2) . The determination of the mitotic rate in the case of thicker primary melanomas is desirable. In general, for the evaluation of each sentinel lymph node, 4 slides should be prepared. For diagnostic purposes, immunohistochemistry (preferably with antibodies against S100ß, Melan A and HMB-45) should be performed in addition to HE staining. The pathology report should provide information about micro-metastases and their longest extension (one-tenth of a millimeter). Conclusions: These recommendations are suitable for standardizing the histopathological diagnosis of malignant melanoma and for providing a common basis for clinical decisions and scientific research.


Department of Dermatology, Tübingen University Hospital, Germany Dermatologicum Hamburg, Germany Institute of Pathology, Tübingen, Germany Dermatopathology practice, Friedrichshafen, Germany Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Cologne University

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft = Journal of the German Society of Dermatology : JDDG
ISSN: 1610-0387


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An unpigmented malignant melanoma. It is an anaplastic melanoma consisting of cells derived from melanoblasts but not forming melanin. (Dorland, 27th ed; Stedman, 25th ed)

Tumors of the iris characterized by increased pigmentation of melanocytes. Iris nevi are composed of proliferated melanocytes and are associated with neurofibromatosis and malignant melanoma of the choroid and ciliary body. Malignant melanoma of the iris often originates from preexisting nevi.

A benign compound nevus occurring most often in children before puberty, composed of spindle and epithelioid cells located mainly in the dermis, sometimes in association with large atypical cells and multinucleate cells, and having a close histopathological resemblance to malignant melanoma. The tumor presents as a smooth to slightly scaly, round to oval, raised, firm papule or nodule, ranging in color from pink-tan to purplish red, often with surface telangiectasia. (Dorland, 27th ed)

A cellular subtype of malignant melanoma. It is a pigmented lesion composed of melanocytes occurring on sun-exposed skin, usually the face and neck. The melanocytes are commonly multinucleated with a "starburst" appearance. It is considered by many to be the in situ phase of lentigo maligna melanoma.

Found in large amounts in the plasma and urine of patients with malignant melanoma. It is therefore used in the diagnosis of melanoma and for the detection of postoperative metastases. Cysteinyldopa is believed to be formed by the rapid enzymatic hydrolysis of 5-S-glutathionedopa found in melanin-producing cells.


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