Fluorescence in situ hybridization as an ancillary method for the distinction of desmoplastic melanomas from sclerosing melanocytic nevi

J Cutan Pathol. 2011 Apr;38(4):329-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0560.2010.01666.x.


The histopathologic distinction of desmoplastic melanomas from sclerosing (desmoplastic) melanocytic nevi can be difficult, especially when evaluating a partial or superficial biopsy. In the study reported herein, we applied and explored the use of a novel ancillary method, a four-probe fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay targeting RREB1, MYB, Cep6 and CCND1, to this diagnostic problem. Fifteen sclerosing melanocytic nevi, including desmoplastic Spitz nevi, conventional nevi with prominent stromal sclerosis and sclerotic blue nevi, as well as 15 examples of desmoplastic melanoma, were examined. None of the sclerosing melanocytic nevi showed a level of chromosomal aberrations that met FISH criteria for melanoma. Seven of the 15 desmoplastic melanomas were 'positive' (had documented chromosomal aberrations) by FISH. Thus, a positive FISH test strongly supports the diagnosis of melanoma in this context. However, in this setting a negative FISH test is of limited diagnostic value. Our findings suggest that prior reports about the high sensitivity of the FISH test for melanoma diagnosis need to be adjusted according to melanoma subtype.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevus, Pigmented / diagnosis*
  • Nevus, Pigmented / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics