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Dermatology Online Journal

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Melanoma in situ or superficial basal cell carcinoma?


Dermoscopy is a non-invasive, in vivo technique that increases accuracy in the diagnosis of both melanocytic and non-melanocytic skin tumors. A 74-year-old woman presented with a 3-year history of a slow-growing, asymptomatic, slightly pigmented plaque on the back. The dermoscopic differential diagnosis of melanoma in situ versus superficial basal cell carcinoma is discussed, based on the presentation of peripheral brown irregular finger-like projections. These were also associated with peripheral fine short telangiectasias, shiny white to red structureless areas, a few brown globules, and small erosions. Histopathological examination confirmed the diagnosis of superficial pigmented basal cell carcinoma. A brief review of the dermoscopic structures associated with this common nonmelanocytic skin tumor is also made.

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