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July 1952


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1952;66(1):80-100. doi:10.1001/archderm.1952.01530260083009

ACANTHOSIS nigricans is significant not only to dermatology; its ramifications and associations extend to many branches of medicine. This paper elaborates on aspects of acanthosis nigricans which are of interest to various medical disciplines.

Two types of acanthosis nigricans, a dermatosis benign in itself, are observed. The type associated with cancer of an internal organ is because of this association called "malignant." The type of the dermatosis not so associated is called "benign." The quotation marks denote that it is illogical to differentiate the two types by such qualifications. The terms "malignant" and "benign" have, however, been retained for practical reasons. These designations are far more satisfactory than the terms "adult" and "juvenile," since children may suffer from and die of "malignant" acanthosis nigricans, while otherwise healthy, older persons have suffered from "benign" acanthosis nigricans for many years.

"Benign" acanthosis nigricans begins at birth or in childhood or

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