Spitzoid Melanoma


Spitzoid melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It begins when the melanocytes in the skin grow out of control and form tumors. Melanocytes are the cells responsible for making melanin, the pigment that determines the color of the skin.

Spitzoid melanoma looks very much like an uncommon but benign skin mole called a Spitz nevus, both to the naked eye and under a microscope. As a result, this form of melanoma can be difficult to diagnose.

Additional molecular tests can be helpful in telling a spitzoid melanoma apart from a Spitz nevus or another atypical tumor. These tests, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization or comparative genomic hybridization, are readily available at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

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Treatment for Spitzoid Melanoma

Spitzoid melanoma is highly curable when diagnosed early. The goals for treatment of spitzoid melanoma are to:

  • cure the cancer
  • preserve the appearance of your skin
  • prevent the cancer from coming back

The extent and depth of the melanoma guides your care plan. Treatment often involves surgery to remove the melanoma. If the melanoma is more advanced and has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes or internal organs, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or a combination of therapies may be used to shrink the tumor.

Learn more about melanoma treatment.