Guidelines of care for the management of primary cutaneous melanoma

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The incidence of primary cutaneous melanoma continues to increase each year. Melanoma accounts for the majority of skin cancer–related deaths, but treatment is usually curative following early detection of disease. In this American Academy of Dermatology clinical practice guideline, updated treatment recommendations are provided for patients with primary cutaneous melanoma (American Joint Committee on Cancer stages 0-IIC and pathologic stage III by virtue of a positive sentinel lymph node biopsy). Biopsy techniques for a lesion that is clinically suggestive of melanoma are reviewed, as are recommendations for the histopathologic interpretation of cutaneous melanoma. The use of laboratory, molecular, and imaging tests is examined in the initial work-up of patients with newly diagnosed melanoma and for follow-up of asymptomatic patients. With regard to treatment of primary cutaneous melanoma, recommendations for surgical margins and the concepts of staged excision (including Mohs micrographic surgery) and nonsurgical treatments for melanoma in situ, lentigo maligna type (including topical imiquimod and radiation therapy), are updated. The role of sentinel lymph node biopsy as a staging technique for cutaneous melanoma is described, with recommendations for its use in clinical practice. Finally, current data regarding pregnancy and melanoma, genetic testing for familial melanoma, and management of dermatologic toxicities related to novel targeted agents and immunotherapies for patients with advanced disease are summarized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-250
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • biopsy
  • follow-up
  • genetic counseling
  • imiquimod
  • melanoma
  • molecular techniques
  • nonsurgical techniques
  • pathology report
  • pregnancy
  • radiation therapy
  • sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • skin toxicities
  • staged excision
  • surgical margins
  • treatment


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