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Lentigo maligna melanoma
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Lentigo maligna melanoma

Contributors: Jeffrey M. Cohen MD, William M. Lin MD, Susan Burgin MD, Lowell A. Goldsmith MD, MPH
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Lentigo maligna melanoma is a subtype of melanoma that develops when a lentigo maligna (a subtype of melanoma in situ) enters vertical growth phase and invades into the dermis. It is a tumor that may grow slightly above the surface of the skin and may be prone to bleeding. This cancer generally occurs 5-20 years after the lentigo maligna first develops. It is most frequently seen on sun-damaged skin (usually on the face) in individuals aged 60 or older.

Lentigo maligna melanoma is associated with nonmelanoma skin cancers, light skin, Werner syndrome, oculocutaneous albinism, and xeroderma pigmentosa.


C43.9 – Malignant melanoma of skin, unspecified

302837001 – Lentigo maligna melanoma

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Last Reviewed:01/02/2019
Last Updated:01/02/2019
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Patient Information for Lentigo maligna melanoma
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Lentigo maligna is a dark spot on the skin with a jagged border that slowly grows larger over time. About 5% of these lesions turn into lentigo maligna melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Who’s At Risk

This type of melanoma is most frequently seen in people aged 60 or older who have sun-damaged skin. You are also more at risk if you have light skin, a history of sunburn, or spend a lot of time outdoors.

Signs & Symptoms

Lentigo maligna is a brown or black spot on your skin with an irregular border, typically on your face, head, neck, or ears. It may grow slightly above the surface of the skin and may be prone to bleeding.

Self-Care Guidelines

Frequently self-examine your skin for any changes such as new growths or changing growths.

Avoid excessive sun exposure, use sunblock, and wear clothing to protect your skin from the sun.

When to Seek Medical Care

See a dermatologist if you have lentigo maligna that is getting larger, growing above the surface of the skin, or that bleeds easily.

Have a dermatologist examine your skin every year for changes.


Your doctor will examine a sample of the tumor to diagnose you with melanoma.

The growth should be removed surgically if possible. More advanced melanoma should be treated by a skin cancer specialist.
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Lentigo maligna melanoma
A medical illustration showing key findings of Lentigo maligna melanoma : Face, Irregular configuration
Clinical image of Lentigo maligna melanoma - imageId=107337. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A variegated brown, violaceous, and blackish plaque on the helix.'
A variegated brown, violaceous, and blackish plaque on the helix.
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