Subungual atypical lentiginous melanocytic proliferations in children and adolescents: A clinicopathologic study

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Abstract

Background

Most subungual melanocytic lesions in children are benign, but some are difficult to classify due to prominent lentiginous growth and high-grade cytologic atypia.

Objective

To characterize the clinicopathologic features of these rare lesions.

Methods

Subungual atypical lentiginous melanocytic proliferations from patients <20 years of age were collected for clinical and histopathologic review. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed when possible.

Results

Eleven patients aged 2-19 years had expanding or darkening longitudinal pigmented streak(s) with or without Hutchinson sign. Microscopically, all revealed predominantly single-cell growth, pagetoid scatter, and poor circumscription. Eight (73%) cases showed focal or poor nesting, and 3 (27%) demonstrated confluence. Nuclear enlargement, hyperchromasia, and angulation were present in 8 (73%) cases, 7 (64%) cases, and 6 (55%) cases, respectively. One of 4 cases tested by FISH was positive. Three lesions recurred locally without other adverse outcome.

Limitations

Small sample size and short clinical follow-up. Two cases were examined in partial biopsies only.

Conclusion

Some subungual melanocytic lesions in children and adolescents are histologically indistinguishable from adult subungual melanoma in situ. While the biologic potential remains elusive, FISH might aid in risk stratification. Awareness of this rare group of lesions is crucial for facilitating future investigation into its biologic behavior.

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