Malignant melanoma in an 8-year-old Caribbean girl: diagnostic criteria and utility of sentinel lymph node biopsy

<p>The incidence of malignant melanoma (MM) is continuing to rise, although childhood MM remains rare. We describe an 8-year-old Afro-Caribbean girl who developed a non pigmented lesion on the tip of her left thumb, which persisted despite treatment in primary care with cryotherapy. At biopsy she was found to have an acquired acral MM. She underwent amputation of the distal phalanx of her thumb, together with positive sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy and subsequent axillary lymph node clearance and adjuvant chemotherapy. MMs are very rare in this age and skin-type group, therefore requiring strict diagnostic criteria. These criteria include the distinction from MM mimics, especially Spitz tumours, and an appropriate use of staging techniques such as SLN biopsy to influence management.</p>