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February 20, 1987

Unusual Moles Play Leading Role in New Strategies for Predicting and Preventing Malignant Melanoma

JAMA. 1987;257(7):894-895. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390070014003

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THE CASE AGAINST dysplastic nevi, long considered suspects in the malignant melanoma mystery, appears to be growing stronger based on new evidence. These atypical pigmented moles have been identified as frequent precursors of the worst form of skin cancer in individuals and families where they flourish. At the annual meeting in New Orleans of the American Academy of Dermatology, several investigators presented recent findings about this relationship and suggested directions for future research.

Darrell S. Rigel, MD, clinical instructor in dermatology, New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, New York City, and colleagues have developed a five-category method of ranking the risk of developing melanoma for persons who have many dysplastic nevi. The scale, said Rigel, is based on a scheme originally suggested by two physicians at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md: Kenneth H. Kraemer, MD, research scientist, and Mark Greene, MD, senior clinical epidemiologist (Derm Clin 1985;3:225-238;