Epithelioid blue nevus: neoplasm Sui generis or variation on a theme?

Am J Dermatopathol. 2000 Dec;22(6):473-88. doi: 10.1097/00000372-200012000-00001.


The epithelioid blue nevus has recently been associated with the Carney complex, which is characterized by myxomas, spotty skin pigmentation, endocrine overactivity, and schwannomas. Using the general criteria proposed by Carney and Ferreiro, similar lesions were identified in 33 patients with no evidence of the Carney complex. Those lesions presented on the face, trunk and extremities of 15 males and 18 females. The mean age was 35 years, much older than those in the Carney complex (mean 16.3 years). Clinical diagnoses included malignant blue nevus, atypical nevus, melanoma, congenital nevus, and dermatofibroma. The lesions were symmetric, predominantly dermal melanocytic proliferations arranged as short fascicles, small nests, and single cells. Large polygonal and epithelioid melanocytes with moderate pleomorphism, and occasional nuclear pseudoinclusions were admixed with heavily pigmented dendritic and spindled melanocytes and melanophages. Rare mitotic figures were seen in some cases. The neoplasms showed a morphologic spectrum that encompassed a group of combined blue nevi with epithelioid melanocytes and other Spitz's nevus characteristics. These epithelioid combined nevi (ECN) fell into three phenotypes with morphologies that most closely paralleled those pictured by Carney and Ferreiro in the Carney complex: the classic or Carney complex pattern (ECN-CC), those that showed overlap with deep penetrating nevus (ECN-DPN), and those that have many dermal Spitz's nevus features, [BLue + SpITZ's nevus; (ECN-BLITZ)I. In six cases, there was such an admixture of features that it was difficult to ascribe them to one of the groups. Nine lesions had associated banal congenital nevus. Follow-up that averaged over 2.5 years (31 months) (range 6-162 months) showed no evidence of malignancy or recurrent disease after excision. Epithelioid combined nevus is a type of combined nevus with blue nevus and Spitz's nevus features, which may or may not be associated with the Carney complex. It shows morphologic overlap with the epithelioid blue nevus described by Carney (ECN-CC), deep penetrating nevus (ECN-DPN), and blue nevus with intradermal Spitz's (desmoplastic) nevus (ECN-BLITZ). Epithelioid combined nevus is thought to be a fitting nosologic designation for all of these lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • Nevus, Blue / chemistry
  • Nevus, Blue / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins