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Lentigo maligna (LM) can histologically simulate dysplastic nevus (DN). Partial biopsy of LM may lead to misdiagnosis.One hundred and fourteen cases of LM and LM melanoma (LMM) were diagnosed at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (1993-2002). Biopsy and excision specimens for 68 in situ and 28 invasive melanomas were classified as having predominant classical LM features, predominant DN-like morphology, or a mixed pattern.Biopsy specimens demonstrated a predominant classical pattern in 38% (25/65) LM and 36% (10/28) LMM, predominant DN-like features in 43% (28/65) LM and 25% (7/28) LMM, and mixed pattern in 15% (10/65) LM and 29% (8/28) LMM. Most LM and LMM biopsies were partial. Significant DN-like features were present in 51% LM and 57% LMM excision specimens. Median age was 72 years for LM and 73 years for LMM, mean lesion diameters were 1.3 and 1.7 cm for LM and LMM, respectively, and 85% of LM and 75% of LMM cases were located on heavily sun-exposed sites.Misdiagnosis of LM or LMM as DN could have devastating results. Large pigmented lesions on sun-damaged skin in elderly individuals should warrant consideration of LM/LMM diagnosis, even in the setting of DN-like features histologically. Excisional biopsy may help to avoid misdiagnosis.
View details for PubMedID 15953373