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Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2011 May;108(20):347-53. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2011.0347. Epub 2011 May 20.

Skin tumors in childhood.

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1
Klinik und Poliklinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie,Universitätsklinikum Würzburg. Hamm_H@klinik.uni-wuerzburg.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Dermatologists, paediatricians, and general practitioners are often consulted by worried parents for the evaluation of a cutaneous tumor.

METHODS:

Selective literature review.

RESULTS:

Only 1-2% of skin tumors excised in children turn out to be malignant when examined histologically. Warning signs of malignancy include rapid growth, firm consistency, diameter exceeding 3 cm, ulceration, a non-movable mass, and presence in the neonatal period. The more common malignant skin tumors in adults-basal cell carcinoma, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma-are very rare in childhood. Congenital melanocytic nevi and sebaceous nevi bear a lower malignant potential than previously believed; nevertheless, their excision is often indicated. A Spitz nevus can mimic a melanoma both clinically and histologically. Some benign skin tumors of childhood tend to regress spontaneously within a few years but may cause complications at particular locations and when multiple. For infantile hemangiomas requiring systemic treatment because of imminent obstruction or ulceration, propranolol seems to have a far more favorable risk-benefit ratio than corticosteroids.

CONCLUSION:

Physicians need specialized knowledge in order to decide whether a skin tumor in a child should be excised, non-surgically treated, or further evaluated, or whether it can be safely left untreated because of the likelihood of spontaneous remission.

PMID:
21655460
PMCID:
PMC3109276
DOI:
10.3238/arztebl.2011.0347
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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