Although enlargement of a melanocytic lesion can be indicative of malignancy, an increase in size also can occur in the growth phase of a benign nevus. Delineation of normal nevus growth patterns can reduce unnecessary biopsies and improve melanoma detection accuracy. Two articles in this issue of the Archives provide insight into age-related growth patterns of benign nevi. Menzies et al1 review changing lesions suggestive of melanoma that were found to be benign via histopathologic evaluation. They report that most changing nevi removed from younger patients had banal histologic features but those removed from older individuals tended to have dysplastic features. Zalaudek et al2 followed nevus development across different age groups. They found 2 major distinct patterns of nevus growth, 1 occurring at earlier ages with globular features and the other occurring later with reticular features. Although the authorship groups took different approaches, they both suggest that distinct patterns of nevus growth exist that are associated with differences in patient age.
Grichnik JM. Age-Dependent Differences in Growth Curves for Distinct Melanocytic Nevus Subsets. Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(6):731–732. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.134
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