In a clinicohistopathologic study of 557 patients with primary cutaneous malignant melanoma, there were fewer metastases and/or deaths from melanoma when histologic evidence of a coexisting acquired melanocytic nevus was found. A total of 130 patients with melanocytic nevus and 427 cases of melanoma without histologic evidence of a nevus (denovo) were studied. Clinical follow-up evaluation for evidence of metastases and/or death was obtained. Only ten of the patients (7.7%) with nevus-associated melanoma had metastases and/or death v 78 (18.3%) with de novo melanoma. When stratified by lesion thickness, the logrank test for survival revealed a statistically significant difference between the two groups. An overall favorable outcome seen in patients with malignant melanomas associated with acquired melanocytic nevi was found, therefore, to be independent of lesion thickness as well as six other variables reported to be related to the biologic behavior of malignant melanoma. Thus, the presence of nevus cells in a specimen of malignant melanoma portends a better prognosis and may have important implications in the biology of this neoplasm.