What is the pathophysiology of lentigo maligna melanoma?

Updated: Dec 19, 2019
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Many authors consider lentigo maligna to be a preinvasive lesion induced by long-term cumulative ultraviolet injury. Conceptually, the term melanoma is used when atypical melanocytes invade the rich vascular and lymphatic networks of the dermis, thereby establishing metastatic potential.

Most malignant melanomas arise as superficial tumors confined to the epidermis, which is often known as horizontal growth. At some point, a stepwise accumulation of genetic abnormalities leads to proliferation and progression to the vertical growth phase, which leads to dermal and deeper involvement and, subsequently, nodal metastases.

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