March 1997

Vulvar Melanoma in Childhood

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City.

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(3):345-348. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890390083011

Background:  Malignant melanoma is rarely diagnosed during childhood. Approximately 2% of malignant melanomas occur in patients younger than 20 years, with 0.3% to 0.5% of cases occurring in prepubescent children. In adult females malignant melanoma of the vulva and vagina is 100-fold less common than malignant melanoma of nongenital skin. Malignant melanoma of the vulva occurring in a child has been reported once before.

Observations:  We report 2 cases of childhood vulvar malignant melanoma presenting in preteenage girls. In both cases, the lesions were asymptomatic enlarging hyperpigmented macules on the labium minus. In addition to features diagnostic of malignant melanoma, histological evidence of lichen sclerosus et atrophicus was identified in both lesions. Local excision with conservative margins was the treatment modality of choice in both cases, with good preservation of anatomic structure and function.

Conclusions:  This report is of 2 cases of vulvar melanoma in childhood, a rare, yet potentially devastating, presentation of melanoma. Biopsies on suspicious pigmented lesions on the vulva of prepubescent children should be done to rule out malignant change.Arch Dermatol. 1997;133:345-348