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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 42, n° 5P1
pages 735-740 (mai 2000)
Doi : 10.1067/mjd.2000.103812
accepted : 15 October 1999
Fine needle aspiration in the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma

Lori K.E. Rodrigues, MDa, Stanley P.L. Leong, MDb, Britt-Marie Ljung, MDc, Richard W. Sagebiel, MDa, Nancy Burnside, MDa, Tsu-lung William Hu, BSc, Brenda W. Ng, MDc, James R. Miller, PhDc, Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, MDa
San Francisco, California 
From the Melanoma Center, Cutaneous Oncology Division, Department of Dermatology,a and the Departments of Surgeryb and Pathology,c University of California/Mount Zion Medical Center 


Background: Fine needle aspiration is an accurate technique to diagnose metastatic melanoma. Few reports exist in the literature describing its usefulness in many patients with melanoma confirmed by open biopsy. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the utility and predictive value of fine needle aspiration in patients with malignant melanoma who presented with lesions suspected to be metastatic. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 99 cases of fine needle aspiration and the corresponding histologic findings obtained by open biopsy in 82 patients. Results: Of the 99 cases, 86 were positive for melanoma, 12 were negative, and one was indeterminate. The positive predictive value of fine needle aspiration was 99%. One patient had a false-positive diagnosis. Conclusion: Fine needle aspiration is a rapid, accurate, and minimally invasive procedure that is useful in the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma. Patients with a positive aspirate of palpable regional nodes can proceed directly to surgery, bypassing the need for an open biopsy. (J Am Acad Dermatol 2000;42:735-40.)

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

 Reprint requests: Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, MD, UCSF Melanoma Center, 2356 Sutter St, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94115. E-mail:

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