Acral Lentiginous Melanoma: A Rare Variant With Unique Diagnostic Challenges


West Florida


Largo Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



malignant melanoma, cutaneous oncology, dermatology, dermatopathology, genodermatoses


Dermatology | Neoplasms | Skin and Connective Tissue Diseases


Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), named for its location and histological growth pattern, is a rare variant of melanoma. ALM presents on palms, soles, or in association with the nail unit. While ALM accounts for approximately 5% of melanomas diagnosed each year, it is the most commonly diagnosed subtype of melanoma in non-Caucasian patients, and it is most likely to be diagnosed in the seventh decade of life. We present a case of a 72-year-old, Fitzpatrick skin type (FST) 5 female who presented to our clinic with a chief complaint of a slowly enlarging dark brown patch with a variation of pigment changes that had been present for 10 years on her right plantar surface. Biopsy obtained for hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) revealed malignant melanoma in situ, acral lentiginous type. Here, we will discuss the unique pathogenesis of ALM, as well as, its characteristic clinical and histological findings. Furthermore, this case underscores the importance of physician and patient education to raise awareness of this rare type of melanoma, specifically in patients with skin of color in hopes of decreasing time to diagnosis and improving prognosis.

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