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Melanocytic nevocellular nevi (NCN) are small (< 1 cm), circumscribed, acquired pigmented macules, papules, or nodules composed of groups of melanocytic nevus cells located in the epidermis, dermis, and rarely, subcutaneous tissue.


One of the most common acquired new growths in Caucasians (most adults have about 20 nevi), less common in blacks or pigmented persons, and sometimes absent in persons with red hair and marked freckling.

Race Blacks and Asians have more nevi on the palms, soles, nail beds.

Heredity Common acquired nevi occur in family clusters. Dysplastic nevi (Clark's nevi), which are putative precursor lesions of malignant melanoma, occur in virtually every patient with familial cutaneous melanoma and in 30 to 50% of patients with sporadic nonfamilial primary melanoma.

Sun Exposure A factor in the induction of nevi on the exposed areas.

Significance Risk of melanoma is related to the numbers of common nevi and to dysplastic nevi, even if only a few lesions are present.


Nevocellular nevi are asymptomatic. If a lesion persistently itches or is tender, it should be followed carefully or excised, since pruritus may be an early indication of malignant change.

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