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March 1999

The Golden Anniversary of the Spitz Nevus

Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(3):333-335. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.3.333

THIS PAST YEAR marked the 50th anniversary of Spitz's1 article, "Melanomas of Childhood." Since its first description, Spitz's juvenile melanoma has been controversial. A pathologist at Memorial Hospital in New York, New York, Spitz was a native of Tennessee and an alumnus of Vanderbilt University, receiving a bachelor of arts in 1929 and a doctor of medicine in 1932. In addition to her work characterizing the histopathologic features of the nevus that bears her name, she coauthored the atlas Pathology of Tropical Diseases, which is the predecessor to the atlas Pathology of Tropical and Extraordinary Diseases published by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC.2 She was married to another noted pathologist, Arthur C. Allen, MD, with whom she published further criteria for differentiating juvenile melanoma from malignant melanoma.3 Over the years, the nevus that Spitz described has been referred to as juvenile melanoma, benign juvenile melanoma, spindle cell and epithelioid nevus, nevus of large spindle and/or epithelioid cells, and Spitz nevus.4

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