Cutaneous melanoma

Lancet. 2023 Aug 5;402(10400):485-502. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(23)00821-8. Epub 2023 Jul 24.


Cutaneous melanoma is a malignancy arising from melanocytes of the skin. Incidence rates are rising, particularly in White populations. Cutaneous melanoma is typically driven by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight and indoor tanning, although there are several subtypes that are not related to ultraviolet radiation exposure. Primary melanomas are often darkly pigmented, but can be amelanotic, with diagnosis based on a combination of clinical and histopathological findings. Primary melanoma is treated with wide excision, with margins determined by tumour thickness. Further treatment depends on the disease stage (following histopathological examination and, where appropriate, sentinel lymph node biopsy) and can include surgery, checkpoint immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or radiotherapy. Systemic drug therapies are recommended as an adjunct to surgery in patients with resectable locoregional metastases and are the mainstay of treatment in advanced melanoma. Management of advanced melanoma is complex, particularly in those with cerebral metastasis. Multidisciplinary care is essential. Systemic drug therapies, particularly immune checkpoint inhibitors, have substantially increased melanoma survival following a series of landmark approvals from 2011 onward.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Melanoma* / diagnosis
  • Melanoma* / epidemiology
  • Melanoma* / therapy
  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Skin Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Ultraviolet Rays