What is superficial spreading melanoma?

Updated: Jun 28, 2021
  • Author: Jonathan B Heistein, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Superficial spreading melanomas constitute approximately 70% of melanomas. Histologically, the characteristic cells can be present singly or in nests along the dermal-epidermal junction, but they also may migrate into the stratum granulosum or stratum corneum. These cells can invade the papillary dermis with an inflammatory lymphocytic infiltrate.

Clinically, they usually arise in a preexisting dysplastic nevus. [13, 14] Typically, this lesion changes slowly over several months to years. They are usually flat but may become irregular and elevated in later stages. The lesions average 2 cm in diameter with variegated colors and peripheral notches, indentations, or both.

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