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Juvenile Conjunctival Nevus: Clinicopathologic Analysis of 33 Cases

Thiagalingam, Sureka MBChB, MPH* †; Johnson, Matthew M. MD† ‡; Colby, Kathryn A. MD, PhD* †; Zembowicz, Artur MD, PhD* † ‡

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: March 2008 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 399-406
doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e31815143f3
Original Articles

Conjunctival nevi in children and adolescents often have histologic features that can be difficult to differentiate from malignancy. We have identified a subset of childhood nevi displaying a confluent growth pattern and a lack of maturation that we have defined as juvenile conjunctival nevi (JCN), with the aim of further describing the clinicopathologic features of these lesions. Lesions identified as conjunctival nevus in a tertiary referral hospital were reviewed and the subset of lesions identified as JCN were further evaluated. Clinical details including follow-up data were also gathered. Of the 40 conjunctival nevi identified, 33 fit the criteria for JCN. The mean age at time of excision was 10.9 years (range: 4 to 19 y). Thirty-two lesions were of the compound type; one was a junctional nevus. All showed a nested junctional growth pattern. In 17 lesions (61%), the junctional component extended beyond the subepithelial component (shoulder phenomenon). Maturation was absent in 21 of the compound nevi (66%, average age 10.3 y), and incomplete in the remaining 11 lesions (34%, average age 12.1 y). The nuclei of the subepithelial nevus cells were larger than the epithelial nevus cells in 19 nevi (59%) and the same size in 13 (41%). A lymphocytic host response was present in 17 lesions (52%). Mitotic figures were rarely seen. None of the lesions had recurred over an average follow-up period of 34 months. Recognition of JCN as a distinct morphologic variant of a conjunctival nevus with characteristic histologic features may help to distinguish this benign lesion from melanoma.

*Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Harvard Medical School

Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Industry/Pharmaceutical Support: None.

Reprints: Artur Zembowicz, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA 01805 (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.