Dysplastic melanocytic nevi of the lower leg: sex- and site-specific histopathology

Am J Dermatopathol. 2010 Aug;32(6):599-602. doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e3181ce910b.


Site-specific histopathology features have been reported for acral, auricular, flexural, and genital melanocytic nevi, however, to the best of our knowledge, site- and sex-specific histology of dysplastic nevi on the lower leg (between knee and ankle) of women (DN-LW) has not been reported. In this retrospective histopathology study, we compared DN-LW (N = 42) with appropriate control groups of (1) DN of the lower leg of men (N = 20; DN-LM), (2) DN from the back of women (N = 20), (3) common nevi of the lower leg of women (N = 40), and (4) levels 1-2 superficial spreading melanoma of the lower leg of women (N = 20). Compared with dysplastic nevi on the back, DN-LW were smaller in diameter and exhibited a significantly higher score for pagetoid spread (P < 0.05). DN-LW compared with DN-LM showed sex-specific differences with (1) pagetoid spread (P < 0.05), (2) cytologic atypia (P < 0.05), (3) presence of large melanocytes (P < 0.05), and (4) band-like pigmentation in the dermis underlying the nevus (54% in DN-LW vs. 15% in DN-LM). As with other body sites, the dermatopathologist should be aware that dysplastic nevi occurring on the lower leg in women have site- and sex-specific features. Knowing this profile may lower the risk of misdiagnosing DN-LW and melanoma of the lower leg of women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control*
  • Dysplastic Nevus Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Melanocytes / pathology*
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevus, Pigmented / diagnosis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult