Malignant melanoma is a malignant tumor formed of melanocytes and the most malignant skin and mucous membranes tumor. It’s biological malicious nature is not reflected so much in local site as much as in its marked inclination for early lymphatic and hematogenous metastases.
Incidence of melanoma is increasing worldwide. In Croatia, in the last ten years there is 8% annual increase in the incidence of melanoma. Excessive exposure to sun light is the most important factor in melanoma incidence. The effect of sunlight during the life is cumulative and sun burns that occurred during childhood affect the skin later in life.
Fifty percent of patients develop malignant melanoma from clinically unchanged skin and in thirty percent it developes from an existing mole.
Malignant melanoma is usually dark brown to blue-black color. Part of the tumor can be a without a pigment. Size, shape, depth of penetration of tumor tissue, color and secondary changes such as wetting, making crust, erosion and ulceration makes morphologic diversity.
Prognosis of malignant melanoma depends on the clinical stage of tumor, it’s depth of invasion and localization. Histological classification of malignant melanoma biased on depth penetration of tumor cells (Clark classification) and the thickness of the tumor (Breslow) are critical factors for prognosis.