Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.


Spitz Nevus Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Zoltan Trizna, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Jan 08, 2016

Diagnostic Considerations

Also consider the following:

  • Melanoma
  • Epidermal nevus
  • Granulomas
  • Histiocytoma
  • Reed nevus
  • Vascular tumors

Differential Diagnoses

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Zoltan Trizna, MD, PhD Private Practice

Zoltan Trizna, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Ronald P Rapini, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Dermatology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Distinguished Chernosky Professor and Chair of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston

Ronald P Rapini, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Society for Investigative Dermatology, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Received royalty from Elsevier publishers for independent contractor; May receive consulting fee from FDA panel for consulting in future, since I am on one of their committees, but at this time so far have received zero from FDA.

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD Herman Beerman Professor of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Director, Penn Cutaneous Pathology Services, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society of Dermatopathology, Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Received royalty from Lippincott Williams Wilkins for textbook editor.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Maureen B Poh-Fitzpatrick, MD Professor Emerita of Dermatology and Special Lecturer, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Maureen B Poh-Fitzpatrick, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, New York Academy of Medicine, New York Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

  1. Berlingeri-Ramos AC, Morales-Burgos A, Sánchez JL, Nogales EM. Spitz Nevus in a Hispanic Population: A Clinicopathological Study of 130 Cases. Am J Dermatopathol. 2010 Jan 22. [Medline].

  2. Li CC, Harrist TJ, Noonan VL, Woo SB. Intraoral Spitz nevus: case report and literature review. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2013 Oct 16. [Medline].

  3. Rossiello L, Zalaudek I, Ferrara G, Docimo G, Giorgio CM, Argenziano G. Melanoacanthoma simulating pigmented spitz nevus: an unusual dermoscopy pitfall. Dermatol Surg. 2006 May. 32(5):735-7. [Medline].

  4. Moscarella E, Lallas A, Kyrgidis A, Ferrara G, Longo C, Scalvenzi M, et al. Clinical and dermoscopic features of atypical Spitz tumors: A multicenter, retrospective, case-control study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Nov. 73 (5):777-84. [Medline].

  5. Fullen DR, Poynter JN, Lowe L, et al. BRAF and NRAS mutations in spitzoid melanocytic lesions. Mod Pathol. 2006 Oct. 19(10):1324-32. [Medline].

  6. Gill M, Cohen J, Renwick N, Mones JM, Silvers DN, Celebi JT. Genetic similarities between Spitz nevus and Spitzoid melanoma in children. Cancer. 2004 Dec 1. 101(11):2636-40. [Medline].

  7. van Dijk MC, Bernsen MR, Ruiter DJ. Analysis of mutations in B-RAF, N-RAS, and H-RAS genes in the differential diagnosis of Spitz nevus and spitzoid melanoma. Am J Surg Pathol. 2005 Sep. 29(9):1145-51. [Medline].

  8. Da Forno PD, Fletcher A, Pringle JH, Saldanha GS. Understanding spitzoid tumours: new insights from molecular pathology. Br J Dermatol. 2008 Jan. 158(1):4-14. [Medline].

  9. Egberts F, Kaehler KC, Brasch J, Schwarz T, Cerroni L, Hauschild A. Multiple skin metastases of malignant melanoma with unusual clinical and histopathologic features in an immunosuppressed patient. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 May. 58(5):880-4. [Medline].

  10. Nojavan H, Cribier B, Mehregan DR. [Desmoplastic Spitz nevus: a histopathological review and comparison with desmoplastic melanoma]. Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2009 Oct. 136(10):689-95. [Medline].

  11. Ko CJ, McNiff JM, Glusac EJ. Melanocytic nevi with features of Spitz nevi and Clark's/dysplastic nevi ("Spark's" nevi). J Cutan Pathol. 2009 Oct. 36(10):1063-8. [Medline].

  12. Sabater Marco V, Escutia Muñoz B, Morera Faet A, Roig MM, Botella Estrada R. Pseudogranulomatous Spitz nevus: a variant of Spitz nevus with heavy inflammatory infiltrate mimicking a granulomatous dermatitis. J Cutan Pathol. 2012 Sep 18. [Medline].

  13. Gelbard SN, Tripp JM, Marghoob AA, et al. Management of Spitz nevi: a survey of dermatologists in the United States. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Aug. 47(2):224-30. [Medline].

  14. Murphy ME, Boyer JD, Stashower ME, Zitelli JA. The surgical management of Spitz nevi. Dermatol Surg. 2002 Nov. 28(11):1065-9; discussion 1069. [Medline].

  15. Caracò C, Mozzillo N, Di Monta G, Botti G, Anniciello AM, Marone U, et al. Sentinel lymph node biopsy in atypical Spitz nevi: is it useful?. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2012 Oct. 38(10):932-5. [Medline].

  16. Sepehr A, Chao E, Trefrey B, et al. Long-term Outcome of Spitz-Type Melanocytic Tumors. Arch Dermatol. 2011 Oct. 147(10):1173-9. [Medline].

  17. Luo S, Sepehr A, Tsao H. Spitz nevi and other Spitzoid lesions part I. Background and diagnoses. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Dec. 65(6):1073-84. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  18. Massi D, Tomasini C, Senetta R, Paglierani M, Salvianti F, Errico ME, et al. Atypical Spitz tumors in patients younger than 18 years. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Jan. 72(1):37-46. [Medline].

  19. Rapini RP. Spitz nevus or melanoma?. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 1999 Mar. 18(1):56-63. [Medline].

Spitz nevus on the ear of a child.
Microphotograph (low power).
Microphotograph (medium power).
Microphotograph (low power).
Microphotograph (medium power).
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.