Melanotic Neuroectodermal Tumor of Infancy

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2018 Nov;142(11):1358-1363. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2018-0241-RA.


Context.—: Melanotic neuroectodermal tumor of infancy, albeit rare and generally regarded as benign, is an important tumor to recognize because of its rapid growth, potential for local recurrence, and small round blue cell morphology, which can lead to misdiagnosis of a malignant neoplasm.

Objective.—: To review its clinical presentation and immunomorphologic findings, and discuss common entities in the differential diagnosis.

Data sources.—: The study involved PubMed searches, including multiple review articles, case studies, retrospective studies, selected book chapters, and University of Michigan cases.

Conclusions.—: Melanotic neuroectodermal tumor of infancy most commonly occurs in the bones of the head and neck region during the first year of life, but it can also present in other locations, including the central nervous system, testes, ovaries, and subcutaneous soft tissues. Histologically, it is composed of a biphasic population of cells, consisting of epithelioid melanin-producing cells and primitive neurogenic cells in a fibrocollagenous stroma. These microscopic findings, especially in small biopsies, can lead to a broad differential diagnosis that includes malignant small round blue cell tumors and malignant melanoma. Melanotic neuroectodermal tumor of infancy commonly has an infiltrative growth pattern, and anatomic constraints often lead to incomplete resection and local recurrence, requiring multiple surgical operations. Because melanotic neuroectodermal tumor of infancy can mimic a more aggressive and aggressively treated malignancy, recognition of this rare tumor is very crucial for pathologists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neuroectodermal Tumor, Melanotic / pathology*