Staged excision has emerged as a superior treatment option for lentigo maligna (LM) of the head and neck when compared with conventional wide local excision. Assessing surgical excision margins for remaining LM poses a diagnostic challenge.
To determine whether immunohistochemical (IHC) staining with SOX10 and preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) aids in diagnosing LM on excision margins compared with conventional hematoxylin and eosin and Melan A IHC staining.
This study included cases of LM of the head and neck treated with staged excision. Histological findings were reviewed according to standard criteria for the diagnosis of LM and compared with the results after IHC staining for Melan A, SOX10, and PRAME.
The cohort consisted of 35 sections. Based on hematoxylin and eosin and Melan A IHC staining, 23 sections were diagnosed as LM by the initial pathologist. Further staining with SOX10 IHC showed only 8 to be consistent with a diagnosis of LM and 9 revealing features of actinic melanocyte hyperplasia. PRAME was positive in 5 of the 8 cases of LM and negative in all 9 cases of actinic melanocyte hyperplasia (P = 0.009). The presence of melanocyte nests (P = 0.29) and pagetoid spread (P = 0.003) was the most reliable histological findings distinguishing LM from its mimics.
SOX10 is a more specific and sensitive marker for melanocytes when assessing for LM on excision margins compared with Melan A. The addition of PRAME can be useful to confirm or exclude the diagnosis in challenging cases.