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Pediatr Dermatol. 2012 Jan-Feb;29(1):79-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2011.01481.x. Epub 2011 May 16.

In situ melanoma of the nail unit in children: report of two cases in fair-skinned Caucasian children.

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1
Division of Dermatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Nephrology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

Nail melanoma in children is rarely reported in the literature, and all of the published cases were diagnosed in dark-skinned phototypes or in Asians. We report two cases of in situ nail matrix melanoma presenting as longitudinal melanonychia (LM) in fair-skinned children of Italian origin. Nail plate dermatoscopy revealed a brown background with lines of irregular color, spacing, and thickness in both cases. Histopathology of the excised lesions showed melanoma in situ. Clinical, dermatoscopic, and pathological criteria that permit clear differentiation of benign melanocytic activation or proliferation from nail matrix melanoma are not established for children. The presence of a pigmented band of a single nail in a child usually represents a problem for clinicians, because the clinical and dermatoscopic features that are considered possible indicators of nail unit melanoma in adults are frequently observed in benign melanocytic hyperplasia and nevi in children. There is therefore the need to find parameters useful for clinical and dermatoscopic diagnosis in childhood nail pigmentation and to reach a consensus on management of children with a band of LM.

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