Vulvar nevi, melanosis, and melanoma: An epidemiologic, clinical, and histopathologic review

Era Caterina Murzaku, Lauren A. Penn, Christopher S. Hale, Miriam Keltz Pomeranz, David Polsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Pigmented vulvar lesions are present in approximately 1 in 10 women and include melanocytic and nonmelanocytic proliferations. Vulvar nevi, melanosis, and melanoma are particularly challenging because of the similarity of their clinical and/or histopathological presentation. As a result, they are often difficult to diagnose, may result in patient and physician anxiety, and can lead to unneeded, potentially disfiguring surgical procedures. Because it is often detected late, vulvar melanoma carries a poor prognosis with associated significant morbidity and mortality, underscoring the importance of prompt recognition and treatment. In this review, we analyze the distinct epidemiologic, clinical, and histopathologic characteristics of vulvar nevi, melanosis, and melanoma, discuss treatment options, and propose a practical, systematic approach to facilitate formulation of a differential diagnosis and initiation of appropriate management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1249
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • dermoscopy
  • melanocytic nevi
  • melanoma
  • melanosis
  • pigmented lesions
  • reflectance confocal microscopy
  • vulvar region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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