Spitz Nevus

  • Guido Massi
  • Philip E. Leboit


The Spitz nevus is a benign melanocytic neoplasm with two peculiar cytological characteristics: its cells are large and they are oval (epithelioid) or spindled in shape. It was initially described as “melanoma of childhood”, and later as “juvenile melanoma” and as “spindle and epithelioid cell nevus”. Perhaps its most exacting moniker was “nevus of large spindle and or epithelioid cells” (Paniago-Pereira). These cumbersome or imprecise definitions are often ignored and most refer to this lesion simply as Spitz nevus.


Spindle Cell Epithelioid Cell Dermal Papilla Epidermal Hyperplasia Reticular Dermis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ackerman AB. Spitz nevus. Am J Dermatopathol 1997;19:524–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ackerman AB, Takeuchi A, Ohata C. Kamino bodies may be numerous in melanomas. Dermatopathol 1998;4:127–130.Google Scholar
  3. Akasaka S. et al. Multiple agminated juvenile melanoma. J Dermatol 1993;20(10):638–642.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Aloi F. et al. Agminated Spitz nevi. Am J Dermatopathol 1995; 17(6): 594–598.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnhill RL, Mihm M. Pigmented spindle cell nevus and its variants: distinction from melanoma. Br J Dermatol 1989,121: 717–726.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnhill RL, Barnhill MA, Berwick M, Mihm M. The histologic spectrum of pigmented spindle cell nevus. Hum Pathol 1991,22;52–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barnhill RL et al. Angio gene sis and tumor progression of melanoma. Quantification of vascularity in melanocytic nevi and cutaneous malignant melanoma. Lab Invest 1992; 67:331.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Barnhill RL et al. Cutaneous melanoma and atypical Spitz tumours in children. Cane 1995;76:1833–1845.Google Scholar
  9. Barnhill RL et al. Atypical Spitz neviltumors: lack off consensus for diagnosis, discrimination from melanoma, and prediction off outcome. Hum Pathol 1999;30(5):513–520.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bastian BC, Wesselmann U, Pinkel D, Le Boit PE. Molecular cytogenetic analysis of Spitz nevi shows clear differences to melanoma. J Invest Dermatol 1999; 113:1065–1069.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Binder M, Mossbacher U, Hunegnaw M, Wolff K, Pehamberger H. Quantification of vascularity in nodular melanoma and Spitz’s nevus. J Cutan Pathol 1997; 24:272–277.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Borsa S et al. Balloon-cell variant of the Spitz nevus. Hautarzt 1991; 42(11):707–708.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Brodeil RT et al. Borderline and atypical melanocytic lesions. Sem Diag Pathol 1985; 2(1): 63–86.Google Scholar
  14. Burg G, Kempf W, Hochli M, Huwyler T, Panizzon RG. “Tubular” epithelioid cell nevus: a new variant of Spitz’s nevus. J Cutan Pathol 1998; 25:475–478.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Busam KJ, Barnhill RL. Pagetoid Spitz nevus. Am J Surg Pathol 1995; 19(9): 1061–1067.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Casso EM, Grin-Jorgensen CM et al. Spitz nevi. J Am Acad Dermatol 1992;27:901–913.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Choi JO, Sung KJ, Koh JK. Pigmented epithelioid cell nevus: a variant of Spitz nevus? J Am Acad Dermatol 1993; 28: 497–498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cochran AJ et al. Melanocytic tumors. Philadelphia Lippincott-Raven 1997:136.Google Scholar
  19. Coskey RJ et al. Spindle cell nevi in adults and children. Arch Dermatol 1973; 108: 535–538.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dawe RS et al. Multiple widespread eruptive Spitz nevi. Br J Dermatol 1998; 13-8(5): 872–874.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elder DE, Murphy GF. Benign melanocytic tumors (nevi). In: Atlas of tumor pathology: Washington, DC: Armed Forces Institute of Pathology 1991:40–49.Google Scholar
  22. Gambini C, Rongioletti F. Recurrent Spitz nevus. Am J Dermatopathol 1994;16:409–413.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harvell JD, Meehan SA, LeBoit PE. Spitz’s nevi with halo reaction: a histopathologic study of 17 cases. J Cutan Pathol. 1997 Nov;24(10):611–619.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harvell JD, Bastian BC, LeBoit PE. Persistent (recurrent) Spitz nevi: a histopathologi immunohistochemical, and molecular pathologic study of 22 cases. Am J Surg Pathol. 2002 May;26(5):654–661.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Helm KF et al. Juvenile melanoma (Spitz nevus). Ped Dermatol 1996; 57:35–39.Google Scholar
  26. Herreid PA et al. Age distribution of Spitz nevus. Arch Dermatol 1996;132(3):352–353.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Howat AJ, Variend S. Lymphatic invasion in Spitz nevi. Am J Surg Pathol 1985; 9(2): 125–128.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kaye VN, Deher LP. Spindle and epithelioid cell nevus (Spitz nevus). Natural history following biopsy. Arch Dermatol 1990;126(12):1581–1583.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mc Govern VJ et al. Ulceration and prognosis in cutaneous malignant melanoma. Histopath 1982; 6(4): 399–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Menni S, Betti R, Boccardi D, Gualandri L. Both unilateral naevus achromicus and congenital agminated Spitz naevi in a checkerboard mosaic pattern. Br J Dermatol. 2001 Jan;144(1):187–188.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mihm MC, Googe PB. Problematic pigmented lesions. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. 1990: 25–35.Google Scholar
  32. Mones JM, Ackerman AB. Melanomas in prepubescent children: review comprehensively, critique historically, criteria diagnostically, and course biologically. Am J Dermatopathol. 2003 Jun;25(3):223–238.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mooi WJ. Cutaneous melanocytic naevus versus melanoma: pitfalls surprises, dilemmas. Eur g J Surg Oncol 1999; 25: 622–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mooi WJ. Histopathology of Spitz naevi and “Spitzoid melanomas”. Curr Top Pathol 2001; 94:65–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mooi WJ. Spitz nevus and its histologic simulators. Adv Anat Pathol 2002; 9: 209–221.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Okun MR. Histological demarcation of lateral borders: an unsopportable criterion for distinguishing malignant melanoma from Spitz naevus. Histopathol 1998; 33:158–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Paniago-Pereira C, Maize JC, Ackerman B. Nevus of large spindle and/or epithelioid cells (Spitz’s nevus). Arch Dermatol 1978; 114:1811–1823.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sabroe RA et al. Agminate Spitz nevi occurring in an adult after the excision of a solitary Spitz naevus. Clin Exp Dermatol 1996;21(3):197–200.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shapiro PE. Spitz nevi. J Am Acad Dermatol 1993; 29(4): 667–668.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith KJ et al. Spindle cell and epithelioid cell nevi with atypia and metastasis (malignant Spitz nevus). Am J Surg Pathol 1989; 13: 931–939.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Soyer HP et al. “Tubular” structures within melanocytic proliferations: a distinctive morphologic finding not restricted to Spitz nevi. J Cutan Pathol 1999; 26:315–317.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Spatz A, Peterse S, Fletcher C, Barnhill R. Plexiform Spitz nevus. An intradermal Spitz nevus with plexiform growth pattern. Am J Dermatopathol 1999; 21(6): 542–546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Spatz A et al. Spitz tumors in children. Arch Dermatol 1999; 135: 282–285.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Spitz S. Melanomas in childhood. Am J Pathol 1948; 24: 591–609.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Stern JB. Recurrent Spitz’s nevi. A clinicopathologic investigation. Am J Dermatopathol. 1985;7Suppl:49–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Suster S. Hyalinizing spindle and epithelioid cell nevus. Am J Dermatopathol 1994; 16(6): 593–598.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tanaka K, Mihara M, Shimao S, Taniguchi K. The local recurrence of pigmented Spitz nevus after removal. J Dermatol 1990; 17: 575–580.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Walsh N et al. Spitz nevus versus spitzoid malignant melanoma. Hum Pathol 1998; 29: 1105–1112.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Weedon D et al. Spindle and epithelioid cell nevi. Cancer 40:217–225, 1977.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wesselmann U et al. Eosinophilic globules in Spitz nevi: no evidence for apoptosis. Am J Dermatopathol 1998;20(6):551–554.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zeiger BG, Wambacher B, Steiner H, Zeiger B. Cutaneous epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, epithelioid cell histiocytoma and Spitz nevus. J Cutan Pathol 1997; 24: 641–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Massi
    • 1
  • Philip E. Leboit
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PathologyCatholic University Medical SchoolRomeItaly
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations