Amelanotic Melanoma

This article has been medically reviewed by Marither Oropeza, MD — 2022-12-25


Amelanotic Melanoma is a group of skin cancer types that form tan, blue, black, or brown pigments on the skin. Amelanotic melanoma is a cancer-specific to skin that does not produce enough melanin to have a distinctive tint and therefore appears similar to the skin. Around 2 to 20% of the overall melanoma cases constitute amelanotic melanoma; therefore, its prevalence is rare [1]

An individual's DNA is responsible for controlling the growth of cells; therefore, any changes in the genetic structure cause an uncontrollable growth of cells that are often cancerous. The genetic change might result from hereditary traits or exposure to ultraviolet rays. The body produces an abnormal amount of cancerous skin cells due to a weak immune system, racial factors and fair skin. The minimum life expectancy of individuals suffering from amelanotic melanoma is around five years, with an expectancy rate of 90%, irrespective of the phase at which the melanoma has reached.

Amelanotic melanoma

The pigments produced through amelanotic melanoma are often pink, red or skin-coloured, surrounded by brown or grey-coloured borders, usually forming a mole-like pigment patch. Therefore, the pigmentation caused by it appears like a mole. Over some time, the mole-like structure becomes exceptionally thick, and its texture changes and grows to cover more areas of the skin. A medical expert can first analyze the symptoms and then suggest that the diagnosis through a skin biopsy aids in detecting cancerous cells. Imaging methodologies like CT scans and MRI can also catch the invasiveness of the cancerous cells to other body parts.

During its initial stages, melanoma is present only at the outer layer of the skin and is hardly any different from a mole or mark concerning its colour and shape. However, in its last phase, the cancerous cells invade other organs like the lymph nodes, brain, liver, digestive system and lungs and spread to the entire skin.

Pink melanoma

Pink melanoma is also invisible melanoma and begins as a tiny patch of skin-coloured pigment on the skin. However, it develops into a pink patch of colouring as it progresses. It mainly occurs in white individuals and is not a unique pigment. Since it does not have a distinctive colour, it looks like a harmless skin mole, due to which misdiagnosis occurs. However, its misdiagnosis can significantly impact its treatment as they thrive quickly if not taken care of within a specific period.

Melanoma symptoms and pictures

Melanoma is a skin pigmentation caused by the presence of cancerous cells. The following are the common symptoms of melanoma:

  1. Evident skin pigmentation that causes marks at the areas like hands, legs, back and faces where exposure to sunlight is apparent is common in individuals experiencing melanoma (Refer Figure 1).
  2. Changes in the colour of existing moles also indicate the presence of amelanotic melanoma.
  3. Continuous growth in the pigmentation of skin cells changes the melanoma marks' size, shape and density.
  4. At times, the melanoma marks might be itchy, ulcerous and bleeding for specific individuals.
Figure 1: Skin pigmentation spots on the body caused due to melanoma Figure 1: Skin pigmentation spots on the body caused due to melanoma [3]

As seen in figure 1, it is visible that the spots can also occur in clusters at random positions. A small lump or bump on the stippled areas indicates cancerous cells. Its distinctive identification can be made by examining it and understanding its surface through medical experts.

Pictures of Red Moles

Red moles are the dense mass of skin with a red blister-like appearance since they tend to bleed due to the many blood vessels inside them. Its occurrence is rare, and around 8% of the total amelanotic cases consist of red moles [1]. Brown or dark red borders surround the red spots due to blood vessel constriction due to the presence of cancerous cells, making it look like a mole instead of a pigmentation spot.

Figure 1: Skin pigmentation spots on the body caused due to melanoma Figure 2: Appearance of red moles on the skin [2]

At first, a melanoma may look like a harmless red mole or even be visible as a pimple, but the growth of these red moles is vigorous in nature which is more evident in affected adults and children. Therefore, it is essential to differentiate it from normal moles. A cancerous red mole consists of irregular pigmentation even after the border of the mole is over. Tenderness, itching and pain accompany the red mole, and it does not easily eradicate or come back after a certain period. Also, the formation of a lump in the area where the mole is present distinguishes the cancerous moles from the normal moles.


Amelanotic melanoma does not have distinct marks that can help healthcare experts diagnose it quickly and efficiently and has a low prevalence. It has a low survival as its misdiagnosis is evident due to its indistinguishable nature. Therefore, biopsies or imaging techniques can help diagnose the phase and intensity of amelanotic melanoma. Surgical methods that remove cancerous cells can be the most effective in eradicating amelanotic cancer during its initial stages when cancer has not spread to other organs or the entire skin. Radiation therapy has the potential to kill harmful cancerous cells.

In contrast, immunotherapy techniques can improve the immune system of suffering individuals and help the body fight cancerous cells. Target therapy specific to certain genes or the production of the protein responsible for causing cancer can eradicate the cause of cancer and can be distinctive based on each individual. Chemotherapy, one of the most common treatments for cancer, uses drugs to halt or slow the growth of cancerous cells. An electric current or laser treatment tends to eradicate or decrease the concentration of cancerous cells.

Amelanotic Melanoma - References

  1. ^ Dallas R English et. al. (2022). Incidence of New and Changed Nevi and Melanomas Detected Using Baseline Images and Dermoscopy in Patients at High Risk for Melanoma: Influence Statistics. Retrieved 6 Dec 2022.
  2. ^ Thomas N., et. al. (2014). Comparison of Clinicopathologic Features and Survival of Histopathologically Amelanotic and Pigmented Melanomas: A Population-Based Study. Jama Dermatology, 150(12), pp. 1306–1314. Retrieved 6 Dec 2022.
  3. ^ McCourt C. et al. (2014). Malignant Melanoma: A Pictorial Review. Ulster Medical Journal, 83(2), 103–110. Retrieved 6 Dec 2022.
  4. ^ CDC (n.d.). What Are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer? Retrieved 6 Dec 2022.
This article has been medically reviewed by Marither Oropeza, MD — 2022-12-25

Who are the top experts researching treatments for amelanotic melanoma?

The top experts researching amelanotic melanoma are: Shigemi Hashimoto, Rafał Przeździecki and Akira Kojima.

Amelanotic Melanoma

What are the top concepts researched in studies about amelanotic melanoma?

The most researched concepts in studies of amelanotic melanoma are: Tumor Cells, Differential Diagnosis, Breast Cancer, Sun Exposure and Lymph Nodes.

What are some of the top places that specialize in amelanotic melanoma?

Recommended institutions that specialize in amelanotic melanoma:

BHSkin Dermatology 1505 Wilson Terrace #240, Glendale, CA 91206 Phone: +13102053555

Stony Brook Dermatology Associates 1320 Stony Brook Rd Building F Suite 200, Stony Brook, NY 11790 Phone: +16314444200

Belgravia Dermatology 9A Wilbraham Pl, London SW1X 9AE, United Kingdom Phone: +442071128622

Hiroo Dermatology Clinic Japan, 〒150-0012 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Hiroo, 5 Chome−25−5 1・2F 広尾アネックスビル 枡儀 Phone: +81357951112

Amelanotic Melanoma

This article has been medically reviewed by Marither Oropeza, MD — 2022-12-25
Giuseppe Argenziano #1
Giuseppe Argenziano
Dermatology Unit, Department of Mental and Physical Health and Preventive Medicine, Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Via Luciano Armanni 5, 80100 ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Klaus J Busam #2
Klaus J Busam
Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA | Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Maria Antonietta PIZZICHETTA #3
Maria Antonietta PIZZICHETTA
Department of Medical Oncology, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano (CRO), (IRCCS), Aviano, Italy | Dermatology Clinic, Maggiore Hospital, University of Trieste, ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Riccardo Bono #4
Riccardo Bono
Istituto Dermopatico Dell’Immacolata Concezione, IDIIRCCS, Rome, Italy | Istituto Dermopatico Immacolata, IRCCS, Rome, Italy | Melanoma Unit, Istituto Dermopatico ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
ALISTAIR J Cochran #5
Department of Anatomic Pathology, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA | Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, California, ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Iris Zalaudek #6
Iris Zalaudek
Dermatology Clinic, Maggiore Hospital, University of Trieste, 34125 Trieste, Italy;,, (E.Z.);,, (L.T.);,, ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
J P Shah #7
J P Shah
Head and Neck Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA. | Department of Obstetric and Gynecology, Seth G.S. Medical College, Parel, Bombay, Maharashtra. ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
H S Goldsmith #8
H S Goldsmith
Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118, USA. | Department of Neurosurgery, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118.
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
A G Huvos #9
A G Huvos
Department of Pathology
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Pietro Puddu #10
Pietro Puddu
Department of Immunology and Allergology, Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata, IRCCS; | Department of Immunodermatology, Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata, Istituto di ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Pellacani Pellacani #11
Pellacani Pellacani
Dermatology Unit, Department of Surgical, Medical, Dental and Morphological Sciences related to Transplant, Oncology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Marianne A Berwick #12
Marianne A Berwick
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA. | Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87102, USA;, | Department ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Pascale A Guitera #13
Pascale A Guitera
Melanoma Institute Australia, the University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia | Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia | Faculty of ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Bruce Konrad Armstrong #14
Bruce Konrad Armstrong
School of Global and Population Health, The University of Western Australia in addition to School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia. | School of Public Health, ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Anne Kricker #15
Anne Kricker
Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia;, | Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney | The ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Susan E Koch #16
Susan E Koch
Portland, Oregon, and Baltimore, Maryland | From the Department of Dermatology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland,a and the Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Julie R Lange #17
Julie R Lange
Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland | Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 600 ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Lawrence E Gibson #18
Lawrence E Gibson
Department of1Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA | Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA | Departments of Dermatology and ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Vincenzo de Giorgi #19
Vincenzo de Giorgi
Dermatology Unit, Azienda USL Toscana Centro, and Section of Dermatology, Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, 50122 Florence, Italy;, ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
Lynn From #20
Lynn From
Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Department of Dermatology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (DCG, NET); Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, ...
Amelanotic Melanoma | Bowen Disease | Skin Neoplasms | Difficult
This article has been medically reviewed by Marither Oropeza, MD — 2022-12-25

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Enhanced Melanogenesis Induced By Tyrosinase Gene‐transfer Increases Boron‐uptake...

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Amelanotic Melanoma Of The Lung And Brain With Fenestrated Intrinsic Tumor Capillaries

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Amelanotic Melanoma | Brain Neoplasms | Neovascularization Pathologic | Fenestrae

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Amelanotic Melanoma | Reflectance Confocal Microscopy | Pagetoid Cells | Melanocytic Lesions | Spitz Naevi

Amelanotic Melanoma In A New Zealand White Rabbit (Oryctolagus Cuniculus)

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Amelanotic Melanoma | Oryctolagus Cuniculus | Neoplastic Cells | Surgical Excision | New Zealand

Tumour Localisation Kinetics Of Photofrin And Three Synthetic Porphyrinoids In An...

.. used. Amelanotic melanoma (A-Mel-3) were implanted in a skin fold chamber in Syrian Golden hamsters. Distribution of the porphyrin mixture Photofrin and three porphycenes, pure ...

Amelanotic Melanoma | Agents Porphyrins | Water Content | Fluorescence Microscopy | Preferential Uptake

Malignant Amelanotic Melanoma - A Diagnostic Surprise: Flurodeoxyglocose Positron...

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In Situ Amelanotic Melanoma Of The Nail Unit Mimicking Lichen Planus: Report Of 3 Cases

.. involving amelanotic melanoma. To our knowledge, only 1 case of in situ amelanotic melanoma of the nail unit has previously been described. We report 3 cases of in situ amelanotic melanoma ...

Amelanotic Melanoma | Nail Unit | Lichen Planus | Distal Splitting | Invasive Stage

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.. suspected amelanotic melanoma tumour, we examined a variety of tissue and cell samples from one patient at the ultrastructural level, which consisted of single cell suspensions of tumour ...

Amelanotic Melanoma | Electron Microscopy | Neoplasm Transplantation | Cells Contained

Amelanotic Melanoma Of The Mandible: A Case Report

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Amelanotic Melanoma | Oral Mucosa | S100 | Hmb45 | Vimentin

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Amelanotic Melanoma | Golden Hamster | Growth Rate | Malignancy | Tumours

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