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Cancer Genetics

Identifying Melanoma or Sarcoma

05/20/2008

Question:

My daughter is waiting on biopsy reports. They have been sent to several places and the diagnosis has been "favorable" to melanoma 2 times, but one melanoma oncologist believes it is a sarcoma of the cartilage. Are there a lot of similarities of these two cancers? How do we know which treatment to do?

Answer:

There is a sarcoma of the cartilage, but is fairly uncommon in the skin and does not usually resemble a melanoma, though it can be difficult to distinguish. I suspect that the appropriate term that you are looking for is a clear cell sarcoma, also called a melanoma of soft tissue. Distinguishing between a clear cell sarcoma and a melanoma is more difficult. They look similar even with special testing. The clinical history in combination with the pathology is often required to distinguish between the two.

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Response by:

Kord  Honda, MD Kord Honda, MD
Assistant Professor of Dermatology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University