Monster cells in malignant melanoma.

Department of Medicine (Dermatology), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
American Journal of Dermatopathology (Impact Factor: 1.43). 07/2005; 27(3):208-10. DOI: 10.1097/
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cells with significantly enlarged nuclei have been described in basal cell carcinomas, dermatofibromas, and pleomorphic fibromas, to name a few. These cells are typically visible using low power microscopy and have been termed "pleomorphic" or "monster cells." They have not been previously described in cutaneous melanomas. We sought to determine the prevalence of monster cells in otherwise conventional biopsies of primary cutaneous melanomas and its association with other histopathologic features of this malignancy. Ninety-nine superficial spreading melanomas, nodular melanomas, and acral lentiginous melanomas/lentigo malignas were retrospectively evaluated for the presence of monster cells, multinucleated giant cells, ulceration, inflammation, and depth of invasion (Breslow level). Thirteen cases of melanoma containing monster cells were found. A statistically significant association was noted between the presence of these cells, the histologic subtype of nodular melanoma (P = 0.0125), ulceration (P = 0.0127), the depth of invasion (P = 0.0103), and the presence of multinucleated giant cells (P = 0.0016). The finding of monster cells is not an uncommon occurrence and is seen more often in nodular melanomas.

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