An update on cutaneous melanoma in Turkey: evaluation of 19-year data in a single tertiary centre and review of the literature

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Information on frequency of melanoma and its clinicopathological subtypes derived from dermatology clinics in Turkey is limited.


As data about melanoma show clear differences due to geographic and ethnic distribution, we scrutinized the rich data of our dermatology centre in Istanbul.


Consecutive patients diagnosed with melanoma in a tertiary dermatology clinic during the last 19 years were retrospectively investigated about the clinical presentation of the skin lesions during admission, frequency of subtypes and localization of the tumour.


There were 227 patients with melanoma showing five different clinical presentations: 200 of them had totally 207 primary cutaneous melanoma (PCM) lesions, nine had PCM lesions associated with metastatic skin lesions, three presented with local recurrence, eight with only skin metastases and seven with regressed skin melanoma following systemic melanoma metastases. Histologically, 23.19% of the PCM lesions were intraepidermal (in situ) and Breslow thickness was less than 1 mm in 30.9% of the patients with invasive melanoma. The most common subtype was superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) (37.19%), followed by lentigo malignant melanoma (LMM) (31.4%), acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) (19.32%) and nodular melanoma (NM) (6.76%). Head and neck region was the most common (34.78%) localization of PCM lesions.


Different clinical presentations, including various types of cutaneous melanoma metastases, were seen. However, a great proportion of our patients were relatively early diagnosed, either having an in situ or an invasive PCM with a Breslow thickness ≤1 mm. Even though SSM was the most common subtype of PCM in our series, its rate was lower compared to many European countries. Furthermore, the rate of NM subtype was also low, while LMM and ALM rates were higher in comparison to studies originating from European countries. This striking discrepancy requires further studies to explain the probable causes.

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