Desmoplastic Melanoma Masquerading as Neurofibroma

Cutis. 2021 May;107(5):258-260. doi: 10.12788/cutis.0241.


Desmoplastic melanoma (DMM) is a rare variant of melanoma that presents major diagnostic challenges. It can mimic both benign or other malignant tumors and may be easily confused by clinicians and pathologists. We report a patient who presented with a pink-colored papule on the left lateral neck. Histopathology revealed a nodular spindle cell tumor in the dermis resembling a neurofibroma at low power. However, higher-power evaluation and the use of immunohistochemical staining confirmed the diagnosis of DMM.We present this case to highlight the ongoing challenges of diagnosing DMM both clinically and histologically and to review the salient features of this often benign-appearing tumor. Advancing age, male gender, and head and neck location are associated with an increased risk of DMM-specific death. It is important that new or changing lesions in the correct cohort and location are biopsied promptly.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma* / diagnosis
  • Neurofibroma* / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms* / diagnosis