Melanoma and melanocytic nevi in decorative tattoos: Three case reports

Erika Varga, Irma Korom, János Varga, József Kohán, Lajos Kemény, Judit Oláh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In response to the demands of style and fashion, the number of decorative tattoos has been increasing worldwide. This has been paralleled by a rising incidence of melanocytic proliferations, including melanoma. The coincidence of various dermatological diseases and skin tumors with tattoos has been documented with some frequency, but reports of melanoma associated with tattoos are exceedingly rare. To date, only 13 cases have been documented in the English language literature. The possibility of an association between melanocytic proliferations and tattoos remains an area for further study. Observations: This report presents two cases of melanocytic nevi and one of melanoma occurring in association with a decorative tattoos. Conclusions: At present, the pathogenesis of melanoma developing in a tattoo is unknown. Mere coincidence cannot be ruled out. However, trauma, ultraviolet light exposure, a photoallergic effect, or an inflammatory reaction may promote malignant transformation. Clinicians and histopathologists should be aware of the clinical and pathological features if they are to make a correct diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-998
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Pathology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2011


  • decorative tattoo
  • malignant transformation
  • melanocytic nevus
  • melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Dermatology

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