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November 1997

Malignant Melanoma vs Benign Tumors in the Young

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology and Pathology University of Linköping S-581 85 Linköping Sweden

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(11):1459-1460. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890470139026

The recent article by Berg and Lindelöf1 needs some response. The authors report on the incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin in children and adolescents from 1958 to 1992 in Sweden, based on data from the Swedish Cancer Registry. As pointed out by the authors, reporting to the registry is very consistent. However, it is well known that there are considerable problems in differentiating malignant melanoma from benign pigmentary tumors in the young. Therefore, data on melanoma incidence in the young obtained from the registry are not reliable. This is quite obvious from the study by Malec and Lagerlöf,2 who reexamined all cutaneous melanomas in children reported from 1959 through 1971 to the registry. The authors demonstrated that only 1 of 26 reported cases met the histological criteria for malignant melanoma. None of the other patients have been described as having a relapse or dying of