European Journal of Dermatology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 50–55 | Cite as

Melanoma and tattoos: a case report and review of the literature

  • Francesco RicciEmail author
  • Andrea Paradisi
  • Stephanie Alissa Maier
  • Maximilian Kovacs
  • Maurizio Podda
  • Ketty Peris
  • Damiano Abeni
Clinical Report



Malignant melanoma cases arising in tattoos have been increasingly described, however, there is no clear relationship between this practice and the development of cutaneous malignancies.


We report a newcase of melanoma in a dark-blue tattoo and we reviewall cases of melanoma reported in the medical literature from 1938 to date.

Materials & methods

Pubmed and Google Scholar were searched using the terms “melanoma tattoo”, “tattoo skin tumour” and “ink melanoma”.


In most cases, the melanoma occurred on dark blue (10/30), black (8/30), or blue ink (3/30). The Breslow thickness at diagnosis was ≤1 mm in 13/30, 1-2 mm in 3/30, 2-4 mm in 2/30, >4 mm in 5/30, and Clark II in 2/30 (not available in 5/30).


Both the incidence of melanoma and the number of tattoos have been increasing in recent years, but a possible carcinogenic effect of tattoos remains unproven. The spread of this decorative custom will make observation of melanoma in tattoos more frequent in dermatological practice, therefore these cases should be reported in national skin cancer registries.

Key words

black ink melanoma pigmented lesion tattoo 


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Copyright information

© John Libbey Eurotext 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Ricci
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Andrea Paradisi
    • 2
  • Stephanie Alissa Maier
    • 3
  • Maximilian Kovacs
    • 3
  • Maurizio Podda
    • 3
  • Ketty Peris
    • 4
  • Damiano Abeni
    • 5
  1. 1.Day Surgery UnitIDI-IRCCS - FLMMRomeItaly
  2. 2.Dermatology Unit“Cristo Re” General HospitalRomeItaly
  3. 3.HautklinikKlinikum Darmstadt GmbHDarmstadtGermany
  4. 4.Institute of DermatologyCatholic University of the Sacred HeartRomeItaly
  5. 5.Clinical epidemiology UnitIDI-IRCCS - FLMMRomeItaly

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