The purpose of this communication is to present a clinicopathologic survey of canine benign and malignant melanomas and to compare these lesions to human counterparts. Our goals in comparative oncology have been described in previous reports.1,2
The term melanoma in human medicine indicates a malignant growth; the prefix malignant is redundant. In veterinary literature, "melanoma" frequently is used generically without division into benign and malignant categories. This distinction is important to any study involving both disciplines. In order to avoid confusion and provide common ground for discussion, the following definitions will be referred to in this communication:
Melanocyte ("clear cell")—mature melaninproducing cell.
Benign melanoma—refers to the pigmented nevus, a benign melanocytic tumor.
Junctional type—melanocytes limited to epidermal-dermal junction, junctional nevus.
Compound type—melanocytes at epidermal-dermal junction and in dermis, compound nevus.
Dermal type—melanocytes in dermis only, dermal nevus.
Malignant melanoma—refers to the malignant melanocytic tumor.
ORKIN M, SCHWARTZMAN RM. Comparative Study of Canine and Human DermatologyII. Cutaneous Tumors—Pigmented Nevus and Malignant Melanoma. Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(2):227–241. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580140053006