Benign atypical naevi: diagnostic difficulties and continued controversy

Histopathology. 1999 Mar;34(3):189-98. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2559.1999.00672.x.


Benign melanocytic naevi exhibit a wide spectrum of histological appearances. Some share significant clinical and histological features and are recognized as entities. Included among these are pagetoid/junctional Spitz naevus, pigmented spindle cell naevus, halo naevus, recurrent and traumatized naevus, ultraviolet (UV) irradiated naevus, naevus in infants, acral naevus, genital naevus and naevi from other specific anatomic locations. However, there still remains a diagnostic grey area of acquired predominantly junctional naevi with architectural and cytological atypia. Only a small percentage of these will fulfil the criteria for dysplastic naevus if criteria are strictly applied. Therefore, there exists a group of otherwise ordinary acquired naevi with atypical junctional activity, mostly mild, whose biological significance is unclear. In older individuals, although junctional activity in otherwise benign naevi does occur, extra care should be exercised in order to prevent the diagnosis of melanoma in situ being overlooked.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / pathology
  • Dysplastic Nevus Syndrome / pathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevus* / pathology
  • Nevus, Pigmented / pathology