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Pigmentation (linear , nails)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Longitudinal pigmentation of the nail bed is a normal finding in dark-skinned individuals. These should be differentiated from subungual melanomas which comprises around 50% of melanomas in this population (1)

In Caucasians it may indicate:

  • reported to be occur in association with (2):
    • acanthosis nigricans
    • Addison's disease
    • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
    • AIDS
  • other associations (3):
    • pituitary tumours
    • effects of cytotoxic drugs
    • malnutrition, especially vitamin B12 deficiency
    • or, if noted in a single nail, may indicate a naevus or possibly a malignant melanoma



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