Children's skin tumors may indicate systemic disease

February 18, 2005

Skin tumors in children may represent developmental remnants or may serve as markers for systemic disease, Magdalene Dohil, M.D., said yesterday.

Skin tumors in children may represent developmental remnants or may serve as markers for systemic disease, Magdalene Dohil, M.D., said yesterday.

The assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego, says that history and clinical assessment of such lesions should focus on congenital vs. acquired presentation, midline or suture line location and size and growth pattern.

Dermatologists should closely monitor any lumps in children for change and should promptly biopsy the lesion if the diagnosis is unclear or the clinical course shows any of the following characteristics: onset during the neonatal period, fixation to underlying tissues, ulceration, size of >3cm and fast growth, vascularity and rock-hard consistency.

Dermatologists should particularly consider common childhood malignancies such as neuroblastoma, leukemia and sarcomas in the differential diagnosis.