Friday, April 29, 2011

BCC Tip Nose

The patient is a 70 yo woman who had a nasal bulb lesion biopsied in September 2010. This was an ill-defined area and two, 2-mm biopsies were taken. One showed a superficial and nodular BCC ang the other a melanocytic nevus. This was probably a collision lesion. The patient elected to wait and see what developed.

Today, April 29, 2010, the exam shows a residual lesion with arborizing blood vessels on dermoscopy. This lesion requires definitive treatment either with micrographic surgery or radiotherapy and the patient is leaning towards the former.

Question: With re: Moh's surgery, what kind of closure you you recommend?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Melanonychia Totalis

Abstract: 70 yo African-American woman with black toe-nails for many years.

HPI: This otherwise healthy 70 yo woman was seen for lichen simplex chronicus of the dorsum of the feet. An incidental finding was that of black toe nails. Anamnesis reveals that this has been present for greater than ten years. She is was on no meds by mouth when this developed.

O/E: Most of her toe-nails are black. One or two have longitudinal melanocytic striae. Her finger nails are normal. The toe nails are thickened with subungual hyperkeratosis.

Clinical Photos:

Lab: The KOH was negative and a fungal culture was obtained on April 21, 2011

Diagnosis: Melanonychia. Is this a dermatophyte, a yeast or a saprophyte? We will wait to see what culture shows. What are your thoughts?

A case of melanonychia due to Candida albicans
Lee SW, et. al. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2006 May;31(3):398-400.
Abstract: Melanonychia is characterized by tan, brown, or black pigmentation within the nail plate. Fungal melanonychia is rare and may simulate longitudinal melanonychia caused by melanocytic lesions. We report six cases of fungal melanonychia which were confirmed histopathologically or mycologically. On culture, Candida and/or Aspergillus species were isolated in four patients. The nail pigmentation improved after treatment with antifungal agents in all cases, but one patient experienced a new lesion on another nail after cessation of treatment. Fungal infection should be considered as a cause of melanonychia, and fungal melanonychia should be differentiated from the melanonychia caused by melanocytic lesions, particularly by subungual melanoma.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amelanotic Acral Lentiginous Melanoma

Abstract: 61 yo man with 4 - 5 year hx of a tumor on foot.

HPI: The patient is a healthy 61 year old man with a 4 - 5 year history of a slowly growing lesion on the plantar aspect of his right foot. On a recent trip to Jamaica it bled, leading him to consult a podiatrist who astutely did a biopsy. The patient has sarcoidosis which has been treated with weekly i.m. methotrexate for the past two years. (I do not know the dose byt presume it is around 15 mg).

O/E: 2 x 1 cm flesh-colored nodule. Crust in photo is from punch biopsy. Remainder of cutaneous exam unremarkable. No palpable regional lymph nodes. Dermatoscopic exam was not rewarding.


Dermoscopic Images:

Lab: Mild leucopenia 3700. Otherwise all chemistries and LDH normal

Pathology: ALM 3.68 (at least) mm thick, (at least) Level IV.
Tumor thickness may be deeper tumor is present at the base of the specimen.
Regression: Not Present
Vascular/lymphatic invasion: Not identified
Mitotic Activity: 7/10 HPF
Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes: Non-brisk
Vertical Growth Phase: Present

Discussion: Although this tumor is called "acral lentiginous melanoma" it clearly is a nodular lesion. Might it better be called "acral nodular melanoma?" The patient will need staging and the, depending on findings of staging studies, a wide-local excision with lymph node mapping . He is being referred to the melanoma clinic at Dartmouth Mary Hitchcock Medical Center.

This is an amelanotic acral melanoma that has been present 4 - 5 years by history. Amelanotic acral melanoma are scary lesions as clinically and dermoscopically they do not appear to be worrisome.
It is well-recognized that these can fool practitioners, as they are only rarely seen even by dermatologists and a high index of suspicion is needed. The podiatrist who saw the patient was astute to biopsy the lesion on his first visit.

1. Acral lentiginous melanoma: a clinicoprognostic study of 126 cases.
Phan A, Touzet S, Dalle S, Ronger-Savlé S, Balme B, Thomas L.
Br J Dermatol. 2006 Sep;155(3):561-9.
Department of Dermatology, Hôtel Dieu, Claude Bernard University, 69288 Lyon cedex 02, France.
BACKGROUND: Although the histopathological subtype of melanoma has not been clearly proven to carry independent prognostic significance, acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) seems to confer a poorer prognosis mainly because disease is often more advanced at the time of diagnosis.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the distinctive epidemiological and clinical characteristics of ALM, a peculiar histological entity, and to identify prognostic factors.
METHODS: We performed a register-based review of cases from a single large referral centre, the University Hospital Department of Dermatology, Lyons, France. We reviewed patient demographics, the initial presentation of the lesion, and clinical outcome. ALM-specific and disease-free survival were estimated using the KaplanMeier method and compared using the log-rank test. A Cox model was used to identify prognostic factors.
RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-six patients were identified as having histopathology-proven ALM in our melanoma patient register from 1996 to 2004. There were 46 (37%) subungual ALM and 80 (63%) ALM on soles, palms and nonvolar sites. The mean age at diagnosis was 63 years. There were 44 (35%) men and 82 (65%) women, sex ratio M/F 1 : 1.86. The mean Breslow thickness was 2.51 mm (range: in situ to 20 mm). There was no evidence of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, nor was there found a predisposing genetic trait. Only 16 (13%) patients recalled a history of trauma. Thirty-four ALM (28%) were unpigmented. The median ALM-specific and disease-free survival were 13.5 and 10.1 years, respectively. The 5-year survival rate was 76%. Multivariate analysis identified tumour thickness, male gender and amelanosis as independent clinical prognostic factors for both ALM-specific and disease-free survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides specific information on the clinical characteristics and outcome of this uncommon histological subtype of melanoma. However, the pathogenesis remains unknown. Breslow thickness, male gender and amelanosis were significantly associated with a poorer prognosis.

2. Acral lentiginous melanoma mimicking benign disease: the Emory experience.
Soon SL, Solomon AR Jr, Papadopoulos D, Murray DR, McAlpine B, Washington CV.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Feb;48(2):183-8.
BACKGROUND: Plantar and subungual melanoma exhibits a higher misdiagnosis rate relative to other anatomic sites. Misdiagnosis and delay in diagnosis are statistically associated with poorer patient outcome. Awareness of atypical presentations of acral melanoma may, thus, be important to decrease misdiagnosis rates and improve patient outcome.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective case review of plantar or lower-extremity subungual melanoma performed at Winship Cancer Center, a tertiary care, referral center affiliated with Emory University, between 1985 and 2001.
RESULTS: A total of 53 cases of plantar or lower-extremity subungual melanoma were identified. Of 53 cases with a final diagnosis of melanoma, 18 were initially misdiagnosed. Misdiagnoses included wart, callous, fungal disorder, foreign body, crusty lesion, sweat gland condition, blister, nonhealing wound, mole, keratoacanthoma, subungual hematoma, onychomycosis, ingrown toenail, and defective/infected toenail. Of the 18 misdiagnosed cases, 9 were clinically amelanotic.
CONCLUSION: Awareness that amelanotic variants of acral melanoma may assume the morphology of benign hyperkeratotic dermatoses may increase the rate of correct diagnosis and improve patient outcome.

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Complex Patient

The patient is a 61 year-old woman with long-standing insulin-dependent diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and insulin-dependent diabetes. Her rheumatologist has treated her with methotrexate which she stopped b/c of side-effects. She has also had side-effects (mostly urticaria) with Humira and Remicaide. She was referred for her psoriasis by another dermatologist. Her meds include insulin and prednisone 10 mg per day.

O/E: The patient appears older than her stated age. She appears to have mild facial lipoatrophy. The stigmata of RA is seen in her hands. Her psoriasis is limited to plaques on her back.

Discussion: Given her infirmities and reaction to standard RA and psoriasis meds, I elected to start her on narrow band UVB and clobetasol ointment 0.05% applied after a bath (Soak and Smear protocol).

Questions: Is this real facial lipoatrophy? Is it related to the DM or RA. The patient has not risk factors for HIV or history of abnormal hemograms to suggest immunodeficiency.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Abstract: 84 yo man with three week history of erythema dorsa hands

HPI: The patient is an 84 yo man who presents with a three week history of a mostly painless eruption on the dorsal hands (left more than right). I have taken care of his skin for over a decade as he's had a thin melanoma and a number of non-melanoma skin cancers. In addition, he has Parkinson's disease and his only medication is carbodopa. Fourteen years ago, he had prostate Ca successfully treated with seeds. Although mentally alert, the patient has been somewhat frail for years and muscle weakness is difficult to evaluate. There are no other skin findings, no heliotrope, no poikioldermatous changes.

O/E: Dusky erythema on dorsum of left hand with a predilection for the MCP joints. Some crusting. Periungual erythema of proximal nail folds, two fingers, right hand.

Clinical Photos (April 4, 2011)

Lab: The patient saw a rheumatologist who did a thorough w/u for collagen vascular disease with a focus on dermatomyositis. All serologies, chemistries and the hemogram were completely normal. CPK was not done.

Impression: The dermatitis is suggestive of dermatomyositis (DM). It's early spring here and he may have been more exposed to light. At this point, I am considering an early and evolving DM. Amyopathic or hypomyopathic DM takes six months to confirm. Considering his age, a thorough evaluation for malignancy might be considered. This appears to be photo-located, so I considered PCT but will hold off on urinary porphyrins for the time being.

Questions: Your thoughts will be appreciated.

Addendum: Two colleagues (Amanda Oakley from NZ and Fran Storrs from Portland, OR, USA) suggested chilblains. I called the patient and asked him if he might have been out more recently without gloves. He told me his hands are usually cold and he has a 200 yard (~ 200 mtr) walk to his mailbox. He hasn't been wearing gloves recently. It's been a cold spring here -- I think chilblains is a more likely diagnosis and I asked him to wear gloves outside when it's < 50 F (10 C) and get back to me in a week. The extend of his involvement is more than we usually see with chilblains, but the dx makes good sense. I'll affix a f/u in a couple of weeks.