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Abstract

Although malignant melanoma is rare in children, its incidence is steadily increasing, and it is potentially lethal. Few studies have examined head and neck melanoma in children, and even fewer have focused on the histopathologic features of melanoma within this anatomic region. To further the understanding of this entity, we examined pathology specimens from nine subjects age 18 years and younger with an original diagnosis of head or neck melanoma. The anatomic locations of these primary melanomas were the face and nose (n = 4), scalp and neck (n = 4), and ear (n = 1). The cases included seven superficial spreading melanomas, one unclassified (possible nodular) melanoma, and one melanoma in situ. No melanomas demonstrating desmoplastic or spindle cell morphologies were noted upon review. Breslow depth ranged from 0 to 2.9 mm (mean 1.3 mm, median 0.6 mm), with Clark level ranging from I to V. Pagetoid scatter was found in eight cases. Other notable features included regression (n = 5), ulceration (n = 1), and associated melanocytic nevus (n = 4). We did not observe any small cell variants; all nine cases had an epithelioid appearance. Nor was any melanoma-associated mortality observed at last follow-up (mean 60.4 mos, median 48 mos, range 2–174 mos). These histopathologic features were consistent with adult-type melanoma, which is in agreement with other histopathologic studies of melanoma in children.