This study was performed to determine the characteristics and clinical outcome of patients with cutaneous malignant melanoma in Taiwan. The medical records of patients with primary cutaneous melanoma between 1992 and 2001 at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH) were retrieved from the cancer registry. Survival was analysed by the Kaplan–Meier method. Univariate and multivariate analyses of factors associated with survival were performed using the Cox proportional hazard model. One hundred and eighty-one cases were retrieved from the cancer registry of CGMH. The male to female ratio was 1 : 1.13. The most common age of onset was the sixth decade. The median age of onset was 61 years (2–95 years). There were 105 cases (58%) of acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), 55 cases (30.4%) of nodular melanoma (NM), 19 cases (10.5%) of superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) and two cases (1.1%) of lentigo maligna melanoma. The median survival of the 181 patients was 3.71 years, and the 5-year survival rate was 45.63%. Five-year survival rates of patients with stages I, II, III and IV disease were 84.39%, 56.03%, 34.7% and 0%, respectively. Sex, Breslow thickness, Clark's level, pathological type and age were significant prognostic factors. There were no survival differences between ALM and NM. Both ALM and NM were associated with a poor prognosis when compared with SSM. In conclusion, ALM is the most common type of cutaneous malignant melanoma in Taiwan. The prognostic factors in Taiwan are similar to those in melanoma-prevalent countries.