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April 1982

Albinism and Amelanotic Melanoma: Occurrence in a Child With Positive Test Results for Tyrosinase

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Wood, Graham, and Willsen) and Pathology (Dr Strefling), Stanford (Calif) University School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1982;118(4):283-284. doi:10.1001/archderm.1982.01650160073030

Although basal and squamous cell carcinomas occur commonly in sun-exposed skin in oculocutaneous albinism, malignant melanomas are rare in albinos. Alpert and Damjanov1 noted six reported cases and added a seventh. There are two common forms of oculocutaneous albinism, categorized by the presence or absence of tyrosinase in melanocytes.2 Testing for tyrosinase has been reported in only two albinos in whom a melanoma developed.3,4 Test results for tyrosinase were negative for both patients. We report an eighth case of malignant melanoma in an albino, the youngest patient described so far. The tumor was amelanotic, but test results for tyrosinase were positive.

Report of a Case  A 14-year-old albino boy had a nodule just below the lateral part of his left knee. The nodule had been present for nine months. Physicians at another hospital had diagnosed a keloid and had advised him not to be concerned. However, continued

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