A conjunctival melanocytic nevus may on occasion be difficult to distinguish from melanoma both clinically and histopathologically. An unambiguous correct diagnosis is critical because of major differences in management and prognosis. We evaluated a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay, which has previously been shown to be of value for the diagnosis of melanocytic nevi and melanomas of the skin, using probes targeting 6p25 (RREB1), 6q23 (MYB), 11q13 (CCND1) and centromere 6 (CEP6), for its potential to assist in the distinction of conjunctival melanocytic nevi from melanomas. Four melanocytic nevi and eight melanomas of the conjunctiva were analyzed. Two of the melanomas were diagnostically problematic because of suboptimal histopathology. None of the conjunctival melanocytic nevi showed a level of chromosomal aberrations that met FISH criteria for a diagnosis of melanoma. All eight conjunctival melanomas (six unequivocal and two suspicious lesions) met FISH criteria for melanoma. Thus, results from FISH assay targeting 6p25, 6q23, 11q13 and centromere 6 correlated well with the histopathologic diagnoses and supported the histopathologic suspicion in two problem cases. The findings encourage further exploration of this technique as an ancillary method for the work-up of conjunctival melanocytic proliferations.

Busam KJ, Fang Y, Jhanwar SC, Pulitzer MP, Marr B, Abramson DH. Distinction of conjunctival melanocytic nevi from melanomas by fluorescence in situ hybridization.