Flat scalp melanoma dermoscopic and reflectance confocal microscopy features correspond to histopathologic type and lesion location

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2021 May 7. doi: 10.1111/jdv.17313. Online ahead of print.


Background: Dermoscopy and Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (RCM) features of scalp melanoma according to lesion location and histopathology have not been fully investigated.

Objectives: To reveal dermoscopic and RCM features of scalp melanoma according to lesion location and histopathology.

Methods: We retrospectively retrieved images of suspicious, atypical excised, flat melanocytic lesions of the scalp, assessed on dermoscopy and RCM at five centres, from June 2007 to April 2020. Lesions were classified according to histopathological diagnoses of nevi, lentigo maligna melanoma (LM/LMM) or superficial spreading melanoma (SSM). Clinical, dermoscopic and RCM images were evaluated; LM/LMM and SSM subtypes were compared through multivariate analysis.

Results: Two hundred forty-seven lesions were included. In situ melanomas were mostly LM (81.3%), while invasive melanomas were mostly SSM (75.8%). Male sex, baldness and chronic sun-damaged skin were associated with all types of melanomas and in particular with LM/LMM. LMs were mostly located in the vertex area and SSM in the frontal (OR: 8.8; P < 0.05, CI 95%) and temporal (OR: 16.7; P < 0.005, CI 95%) areas. The dermoscopy presence of pseudo-network, pigmented rhomboidal structures, obliterated hair follicles and annular-granular pattern were associated with LM diagnoses, whereas bluish-white veil was more typical of SSM. Observations on RCM of atypical roundish and dendritic cells in the epidermis were associated with SSM (42.4%) and dendritic cells with LM (62.5%) diagnoses. Folliculotropism on RCM was confirmed as a typical sign of LM.

Conclusions: Flat scalp melanomas reveal specific dermoscopic and RCM features according to histopathologic type and scalp location.