Submission Type

Innovation Highlight


Introduction: Natalizumab is an integrin receptor antagonist that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. The drug has been linked to an increased risk of melanoma. This brief report highlights an innovative clinical approach for monitoring the skin of patients prescribed natalizumab.

Methods: We include 2 cases from our skin oncology clinic and a literature review on the incidence of melanoma in patients prescribed natalizumab between 2004 and 2019.

Results: In addition to our 2 cases, we found 193 reports of patients with melanoma who were prescribed natalizumab. We propose an innovative and proactive approach using total body photography and sequential digital dermoscopy imaging before starting and while treating patients with natalizumab.

Discussion: Given the mechanism of action of natalizumab, many of the melanomas diagnosed likely arose from preexisting melanocytic nevi. Using total body photography before starting this high-risk medication and then sequential digital dermoscopy imaging will increase a dermatologist’s ability to recognize new and preexisting skin lesions that have evolved since the patient began taking natalizumab.

Conclusions: Using the latest non-invasive technology to detect skin cancer supports systematic and objective monitoring of changing melanocytic growths in patients prescribed natalizumab, resulting in earlier detection of melanoma and greater cure rates.



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