Although showing a rapidly rising incidence, paediatric melanoma is relatively rare, accounting for 1–4% of all cases of melanoma and for 1–3% of all paediatric malignancies. The overall survival rate in paediatric patients seems to be similar to that recorded in adults. ‘Animal-type’ melanoma (ATM) is a rare melanoma subtype, occurring both in childhood and in adults, that shows a close histological resemblance to the heavily pigmented melanocytic tumours observed in grey and white horses.
We present a case of ATM of the scalp with satellitosis and two positive sentinel nodes in a 4-year-old male child. No other tumour deposits were found in the subsequent regional lymphadenectomy; the patient has been tumour free for 30 months.
We treated our case of ATM in a child as the other types of paediatric melanoma, therefore as an adult melanoma. ATM is generally considered a neoplasm with an indolent course, that occasionally shows an aggressive behaviour, and patient deaths of ATM have been reported. Due to the rarity of ATM, further studies are needed to better define the biological behaviour of this particular melanoma subtype and the therapeutic and follow-up strategies.
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Published online: January 06, 2012
Accepted: November 26, 2011
Received: July 29, 2011
© 2011 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.