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A Journal on Dermatology

Journal of Istituto Dermatologico San Gallicano
Official Journal of the Associazione Dermatologi Ospedalieri Italiani - A.D.O.I.
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus



Esperienze Dermatologiche 2011 September;13(3):109-12

language: English, Italian

Seborrheic keratosis or melanoma? That is the question

Lembo S., Cirillo T., Megna M., Raimondo A., Balato A.

Dipartimento di Dermatologia, Università di Napoli Federico II, Napoli


Seborrheic keratosis is a very common benign skin tumor in man. It is usually located on the seborrheic areas of: face, chest, back, or other areas such as abdomen, inguinal fold and armpit fold. Seborrheic keratosis can be numbered among the so-called “melanoma simulators” because, together with other benign cutaneous pigmented lesions, can sometimes resemble melanoma. Melanoma is the most dreaded of all malignant skin tumors. It originates in melanocytes, therefore it may arise in the skin or other tissues harbouring these cells, such as mucosa. We describe a case of a 78-years old man with seborrheic keratosis. At first, the lesion aroused suspicion of a melanoma because of its clinical and dermoscopic features. Only the use of histopathology enabled us to formulate a sure diagnosis. We would emphasize the importance of a thorough diagnostic algorithm including invasive diagnostic techniques even if the lesion seems to be harmless.

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