Atypical junctional melanocytic proliferations in benign lichenoid keratosis

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
Human Pathlogy (Impact Factor: 2.77). 08/2003; 34(7):706-9. DOI: 10.1016/S0046-8177(03)00234-X
Source: PubMed


Melanocytic lesions with lichenoid regression may mimic a benign lichenoid keratosis (BLK) histologically. A total of 336 BLKs were reviewed and deeper sections obtained to determine the frequency of this phenomenon. Two cases (0.6%) showed at least 1 melanocytic nest or junctional multinucleated melanocyte (starburst melanocyte) on deeper sections confirmed by MART-1 immunostaining. Both of these cases demonstrated solar elastosis, and 1 case had an effaced rete ridge pattern. Not included in the histological study are 5 additional cases in which the initial slide showed only lichenoid dermatitis, but deeper sections obtained before to the initial sign-out revealed a melanocytic proliferation. These 5 cases would have been signed out as "consistent with BLK" if deeper sections had not been obtained. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed on 3 cases; in each case, the melanocytes demonstrated a loss of chromosome 9p21 DNA copy number. The finding of nests of genetically altered melanocytes on severely sun-damaged skin strongly suggests that these cases represent lichenoid regression of melanoma in situ. Pathologists should approach a diagnosis of BLK cautiously in the setting of severely sun-damaged skin.

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