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Keywords:

  • congenital melanocytic nevus;
  • neurocutaneous melanosis;
  • facial morphology;
  • syndrome;
  • neural crest

Abstract

Congenital melanocytic nevi (CMN) are known to be associated with neurological abnormalities and melanoma, but have not been considered to be part of a developmental syndrome. The objective of this study was to test our clinical observation that children with CMN show more facial similarities than might be expected by coincidence. We selected facial photographs of 95 white Caucasian children with CMN from our database only on the basis of good neutral views, allowing careful evaluation of facial morphology. These were scored independently by two clinical geneticists using standardized categories and definitions for facial morphology. Prevalence of age-independent features was compared to established norms in a large population, and associations with cutaneous phenotype were investigated. CMN were found to be associated with characteristic facies, and 74% of children in this series had at least three typical features. The characteristic features were: wide or prominent forehead, apparent hypertelorism, eyebrow variants, periorbital fullness, small/short nose, narrow nasal ridge, broad nasal tip, broad or round face, full cheeks, prominent pre-maxilla, prominent/long philtrum, and everted lower lip. No association was found with the severity of cutaneous phenotype. We conclude that children with CMN often have a characteristic face. We propose the term “congenital melanocytic nevus syndrome” to describe this association. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.