Melanoctyic Lesions of the Vulva and Vagina

Part of the Essentials of Diagnostic Gynecological Pathology book series (EDGP)


Pigmentary abnormalities of the lower female genital tract most commonly affect the vulva and only rarely the vagina. They are identified in about 10% of patients at routine gynecological examination and encompass melanocytic proliferations as well as non-melanocytic disorders including squamous lesions and inflammatory and reactive conditions. Only the true melanocytic proliferations as well as disorders characterized by hyperpigmentation are discussed in this chapter. The vast majority of pigmented lesions are benign, most frequently presenting as common acquired melanocytic nevi and genital lentigines/melanosis. In contrast, genital melanoma is a rare disease but early detection is crucial due to its poor prognosis at advanced stage. Its correct diagnosis may be challenging due to significant clinical and histological overlap with a subset of benign nevi, in particular the dysplastic and the atypical genital nevi. The salient clinical and histological features of these important entities are discussed in the appropriate context and with a particular focus on differential diagnosis.


Cytological Atypia Mucosal Melanoma Melanocytic Nevus Dysplastic Nevus Nodular Melanoma 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyWestern General Hospital and The University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Department of DermatopathologySt. John’s Institute of Dermatology, St. Thomas’ HospitalLondonUK

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