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Book and New Media Reviews
January 2000

Dysplastic Nevus: Atypical Mole or Typical Myth?

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(1):133. doi:

This is a unique, magnificent book. In about 400 richly illustrated pages, the authors recapitulate the evolution of the concept of the so-called dysplastic nevus, starting from the very beginning. For this purpose, extracts from many original articles that have been published over the last 20 years are cited verbatim and discussed by the authors, and original photomicrographs (with their original legends) are presented and analyzed in detail. The result is a unique work, presenting an unprecedented in-depth analysis of one of the most controversial and popular concepts of modern dermatology, namely, that of the dysplastic nevus. The original article by Clark and colleagues that was published in the ARCHIVES in 1978 not only changed the approach to patients with pigmented lesions, but also influenced scientific research on melanocytic tumors during the last 2 decades. Ackerman, Massi, Nielsen, and Vassallo present a brilliant critique of the work by Clark and other advocates of the dysplastic nevus hypothesis, allowing readers to compare and judge different points of view on a crucial subject, such as precursor lesions of cutaneous malignant melanoma.