Speckled lentiginous naevus: which of the two disorders do you mean?


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Dr Rudolf Happle, Department of Dermatology, University of Marburg, Deutschhaus-Str. 9, 35033 Marburg, Germany.
E-mail: happle@med.uni-marburg.de


Speckled lentiginous naevus (synonym: naevus spilus) no longer represents one clinical entity, but rather, two different disorders can be distinguished. Naevus spilus maculosus is consistently found in phacomatosis spilorosea, whereas naevus spilus papulosus represents a hallmark of phacomatosis pigmentokeratotica. The macular type is characterized by dark speckles that are completely flat and rather evenly distributed on a light brown background, resembling a polka-dot pattern. In contrast, naevus spilus papulosus is defined by dark papules that are of different sizes and rather unevenly distributed, reminiscent of a star map. Histopathologically, the dark spots of naevus spilus maculosus show a ‘jentigo’ pattern and several nests of melanocytes involving the dermoepidermal junction at the tips of the papillae, whereas most of the dark speckles of naevus spilus papulosus are found to be dermal or compound melanocytic naevi. The propensity to develop Spitz naevi appears to be the same in both types of speckled lentiginous naevus, whereas development of malignant melanoma has been reported far more commonly in naevus spilus maculosus.