Skin-melanocytic tumor
Junctional nevus

Author: Christopher Hale, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 22 February 2017, last major update February 2017

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Junctional nevus [title]
Page views in 2018: 7,301
Page views in 2019 to date: 105
Cite this page: Junctional nevus. website. Accessed January 23rd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Melanocytic proliferation restricted to basal epidermis (junctional area)
  • Earliest stage of intraepidermal melanocytic proliferation
  • Lentigo simplex:
    • Also called lentigo, lentigines
    • Often in acral sites
    • Precursor lesion to nevi, with proliferation of melanocytes (but no nests) in epidermal basal layer along rete ridges (DermNet NZ)
  • Multiple lentigines:
    • Associated with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, centrofacial lentiginosis, Moynahan’s syndrome, LEOPARD syndrome, Carney’s syndrome and xeroderma pigmentosum
  • Traditionally considered more common in children (possible sampling bias), may actually occur in all ages (J Am Acad Dermatol 2007;56:825)
  • Melanomas may arise from junctional nevi
Clinical features
  • Small, flat or slightly elevated; non-hairy, deeply pigmented
Case reports
  • Regular pigmented network of brown and uniform color, more prominent in center with gradual fading to borders (reticular pattern)
  • May have black or brown globules and dots regularly distributed inside lesion (usually in central region)
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Rounded nests of melanocytes / nevus cells on epidermal side of dermoepidermal junction, originating from tips of rete ridges
  • Variable lentiginous melanocytic hyperplasia
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:
Missing Image

Breast skin, courtesy of Dr. Mark R. Wick

Missing Image

Junctional nests

Differential diagnosis