The study of nevi in children: Principles learned and implications for melanoma diagnosis

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Oct;75(4):813-823. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.03.027. Epub 2016 Jun 17.


Melanocytic nevi are a strong phenotypic marker of cutaneous melanoma risk. Changes in nevi during childhood and adolescence make these prime periods for studying nevogenesis. Insights gained by the study of nevi in childhood have implications for melanoma detection in both adults and children. A more comprehensive understanding of the morphologic characteristics of nevi in different anatomic locations, in association with the patient's age and pigmentary phenotype may aid in the identification of melanomas. When monitoring melanocytic lesions over time, it is essential to differentiate normal from abnormal change. This review summarizes the rapidly expanding body of literature relevant to nevus phenotype, particularly in the context of our experience with the Study of Nevi in Children (SONIC) Project.

Keywords: adolescence; childhood; dermoscopy; detection; melanoma; nevi; nevogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dermoscopy*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nevus / diagnosis
  • Nevus / epidemiology
  • Nevus, Pigmented / diagnosis*
  • Nevus, Pigmented / epidemiology*
  • Nevus, Pigmented / pathology
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology