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Morphological Analysis of Nevoid Melanoma: A Study of 20 Cases With A Review of the Literature

Zembowicz, Artur M.D.; McCusker, Margaret M.D.; Chiarelli, Concetta M.D.; Dei Tos, Angelo P. M.D.; Granter, Scott R. M.D.; Calonje, Eduardo M.D.; McKee, Phillip H. M.D.

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: June 2001 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 167-175

Nevoid melanoma is a rare variant of melanoma characterized by deceptive morphologic features reminiscent of a benign melanocytic nevus. Twenty (13 nodular, 7 verrucous) nevoid melanomas were reviewed with the goal of identifying the predominant architectural patterns, cytologic features, and prognostic indicators. Although at scanning magnification, many lesions showed a strong resemblance to banal compound or dermal nevi, careful inspection in all cases demonstrated subtle pleomorphism and impaired maturation with depth, invariably accompanied by multiple dermal mitoses. Four tumors recurred and three metastasized, with subsequent death of the patients. Follow-up information for a period of at least 3 years was available in eight cases. In this group, mortality was 37.5%, the metastasis rate was 37.5%, and the local recurrence rate was 75%, with an average tumor thickness of 2.5 mm. We conclude that nevoid melanoma may be distinguished from a benign melanocytic nevus by a high index of suspicion, a careful analysis of architecture, and attention to cytologic features. Our data and a review of the literature do not support the notion that nevoid melanoma has a better prognosis than ordinary melanoma.

From the Division of Dermatopathology, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital (M.M., P.H.M., S.R.G.), and Department of Pathology, Dermatopathology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital (A.Z.), Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pathology, San Martino Hospital, Belluno (C.C.), and Department of Pathology, Regional Hospital, Treviso, Italy (A.P.D.); and Department of Dermatopathology, St. John's Institute of Dermatology, St. Thomas Hospital, London, United Kingdom (E.C.).

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Phillip H. McKee, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115; E-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.