Likelihood of finding melanoma when removing a Spitzoid-looking lesion in patients aged 12 years or older

Aimilios Lallas, Elvira Moscarella, Caterina Longo, Athanassios Kyrgidis, Yuka De Mestier, Gabrielle Vale, Stefania Guida, Giovanni Pellacani, Giuseppe Argenziano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Dermoscopy improves the recognition of melanoma and Spitz nevus but occasionally melanoma may exhibit a symmetric pattern mimicking Spitz nevus. Objective We sought to investigate the likelihood of finding melanoma when excising a symmetric Spitzoid-looking lesion in patients aged 12 years or older.

Methods This study included patients aged 12 years or older with symmetric, Spitzoid-looking lesions that were diagnosed histopathologically as Spitz nevus or melanoma. Demographic, clinical, and dermoscopic variables were included in the analysis. We used χ2 for nonparametric comparisons. Crude odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by univariate logistic regression.

Results Of 384 included lesions, 333 (86.7%) were histopathologically diagnosed as Spitz nevus and 51 (13.3%) as melanoma. The risk of melanoma significantly increased with increasing age, being 50% or higher after the age of 50 years.

Limitations Limitations are retrospective design, exclusion of patients younger than 12 years, lack of detailed histopathologic data, and limited sample size. Conclusion Our results confirm the observation that melanoma may be dermoscopically indistinguishable from Spitz nevi, strongly suggesting that the only safe strategy not to miss melanoma is to excise all Spitzoid-looking lesions in patients aged 12 years or older.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • dermoscopy
  • diagnosis
  • management
  • melanoma
  • Reed nevus
  • Spitz nevus.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Medicine(all)

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