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April 1990

Dysplastic Melanocytic NeviNormal Variants or Melanoma Precursors?

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of Pennsylvania 3400 Spruce St Philadelphia, PA 19104

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(4):519-522. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670280103019

The dysplastic nevus (DN) is perhaps the most controversial neoplasm in the practice of dermatology and pathology. Critics question whether it exists; if it exists, by what criteria it should be defined; and if it can be defined, whether its occurrence is of any biological significance. Proponents suggest that it may represent a paradigm for the evolutionary sequence of all neoplasia. In the present issue of the Archives, Rhodes et al1 and Edwards et al2 utilize the concept of DN to enlarge on the potential of the histologic features associated with DN to correlate with malignant degeneration and to evaluate topical treatment with tretinoin, respectively. Piepkorn,3 on the other hand, argues that the histologic features attributed to DN merely represent the pattern of benign nevi in active or hyperplastic phases of radial growth. Interpretation of such data is hindered by confusion with respect to precise histologie definitions and

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