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Age and Location Can Help Distinguish Skin Tumors

Depending on age, Spitz nevi and malignant melanoma found more often on thighs or trunk

WEDNESDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Spitz nevi and malignant melanoma may be differentiated in part based on patient age and their location on the thighs or trunk, researchers report in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Christian Schmoeckel, M.D., from the Laboratory of Dermatohistopathology in Munich, Germany, and colleagues analyzed 1,228 cases of malignant melanoma and 967 cases of Spitz nevi.

The researchers found that in patients under 40 years of age, Spitz nevi were found on the thighs 8.1 times more often than malignant melanoma in both genders. In patients over 40 years of age, malignant melanoma was found on the trunk 7.4 times more often than Spitz nevi in both genders.

"The only locations that appear to be of additional diagnostic help when differentiating between these two tumors are the thighs in patients younger than 40 years of age, suggesting Spitz nevi, and the trunk in patients 40 years of age or older, suggesting malignant melanoma," Schmoeckel and colleagues conclude.

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