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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 77, n° 5
pages 886-892 (novembre 2017)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jaad.2017.05.051
accepted : 31 May 2017
Original Articles

A single-institution assessment of superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) in the pediatric population: Molecular and histopathologic features compared with adult SSM

Anna Elisa Verzì, MD a, Jeffrey A. Bubley, BA a, Alexandra M. Haugh, BA a, Bin Zhang, MS a, Annette Wagner, MD a, b, Lacey Kruse, MD a, b, Dennis P. West, PhD a, Jeffrey Wayne, MD c, Joan Guitart, MD a, Pedram Gerami, MD a, d,
a Department of Dermatology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 
c Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 
d Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 
b Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago, Illinois 

Correspondence to: Pedram Gerami, MD, Northwestern University, Department of Dermatology, 676 N St. Clair St, Suite 1765, Chicago, IL 60611.Northwestern UniversityDepartment of Dermatology676 N St. Clair St, Suite 1765ChicagoIL60611

The epidemiology of pediatric melanoma is distinct from that seen in adults. This is more distinguishable when pediatric patients are separated into prepubertal and adolescent groups.


In this study, we compared epidemiologic, clinical, histologic, and molecular characteristics of pediatric superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) in prepubertal and adolescent patients to that in adults.


We reviewed our database for pediatric melanomas, comparing SSM data between pediatric and adult cases for pathologic stage at presentation, ratio of radial to vertical growth phase, average Breslow depth and mitotic index, and frequency of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) positivity.


Of 84 pediatric melanomas, 38 were SSM, and 5 of the latter (6%) were prepubertal. There were no significant differences when pediatric and adult SSM were compared for stage at presentation, ratio of radial to vertical growth phase, average Breslow depth and mitotic count, or frequency of FISH positivity. A significant difference was detected for SSM arising from a precursor nevus (80% of pediatric cases versus 30% of adult cases).


Follow-up time was limited for both cohorts.


SSM melanoma is infrequent in childhood, particularly in the prepubertal years. Features such as tumor stage, Breslow depth, mitotic activity, and FISH positivity suggest morphologic and molecular characteristics similar to those of adult SSM.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Key words : adolescent, children, FISH, radial growth phase, superficial spreading melanoma, vertical growth phase

Abbreviations used : FISH, SSM

 Supported by the IDP Foundation.
 Dr Gerami has served as a consultant for Myriad Genomics, DermTech Int, and Castle Biosciences and has received honoraria for this service. Drs Verzì, Wagner, Kruse, West, Wayne, and Guitart; Mr Bubley; Ms Haugh; and Mr Zhang have no conflicts of interest to declare. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
 Reprints not available from the authors.

© 2017  American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.@@#104156@@