Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM) Rates Higher in Southeast Asian Individuals than Other Asian Groups


In the past, there has been limited research exploring the presentation of melanoma in Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Recent research has sought to explore this relationship and provide better care to patients. Healio shares that one poster presentation at the Skin of Color Society Scientific Symposium focused on the differences on how melanoma affected or manifested in people of various AAPI backgrounds. To begin, researchers evaluated data from a specified database over a 20-year period. The data found that:

  • Those of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander background, followed by those of South Asian descent, had the highest rates of superficial spreading melanoma. 
  • Metastatic melanoma and ALM were most common in those of Southeastern Asian descent. 33.2% of individuals of Southeastern Asian descent had metastatic melanoma, with 15.34% having ALM. 
  • Ulcerating lesions were more common in those of Southeastern Asian descent. 

Ultimately, more research is needed into the impact of acral lentiginous melanoma within this population to identify areas for improved research and outcomes. 

An Overview of Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM

Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is a subtype of malignant melanoma that occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails. It may also be referred to simply as acral melanoma. Unlike other forms of skin cancer, ALM is not related to sun exposure. Doctors are unsure of the exact cause. Heredity is thought to play a role. ALM is most common in individuals older than 40 years old. It is also the leading cause of melanoma in individuals with darker skin. Symptoms and characteristics of acral lentiginous melanoma may include:

  • A dark spot with a clear border between lighter surrounding skin
  • Asymmetrical moles with rugged or uneven borders
  • Moles that are ¼ inch or more 
  • Variable pigmentation (moles may be blue, brown, black, or a multitude of colors)
  • Moles that evolve in color, size, etc. over time 

Treatment options include surgical intervention (mole removal and removal of any spread), as well as drugs such as Proleukin. 

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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