Background: The spectrum of central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities described in association with congenital melanocytic naevi (CMN) includes congenital, acquired, melanotic and nonmelanotic pathology. Historically, symptomatic CNS abnormalities were considered to carry a poor prognosis, although studies from large centres have suggested a much wider variation in outcome.
Objectives: To establish whether routine MRI of the CNS is a clinically relevant investigation in children with multiple CMN (more than one at birth), and to subclassify radiological abnormalities.
Methods: Of 376 patients seen between 1991 and 2013, 289 fulfilled our criterion for a single screening CNS MRI, which since 2008 has been more than one CMN at birth, independent of size and site of the largest naevus. Cutaneous phenotyping and radiological variables were combined in a multiple regression model of long-term outcome measures (abnormal neurodevelopment, seizures, requirement for neurosurgery).
Results: Twenty-one per cent of children with multiple CMN had an abnormal MRI. Abnormal MRI was the most significant predictor of all outcome measures. Abnormalities were subclassified into group 1 'intraparenchymal melanosis alone' (n = 28) and group 2 'all other pathology' (n = 18). Group 1 was not associated with malignancy or death during the study period, even when symptomatic with seizures or developmental delay, whereas group 2 showed a much more complex picture, requiring individual assessment.
Conclusions: For screening for congenital neurological lesions a single MRI in multiple CMN is a clinically relevant strategy. Any child with a stepwise change in neurological/developmental symptoms or signs should have an MRI with contrast of the brain and spine to look for new CNS melanoma.
© 2015 The Authors. British Journal of Dermatology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Association of Dermatologists.