The significance of crystalline/chrysalis structures in the diagnosis of melanocytic and nonmelanocytic lesions

Yevgeniy Balagula, Ralph P. Braun, Harold S. Rabinovitz, Stephen W. Dusza, Alon Scope, Tracey N. Liebman, Ines Mordente, Katherine Siamas, Ashfaq A. Marghoob

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Abstract

Background: Crystalline/chrysalis structures (CS) are white shiny streaks that can only be seen with polarized dermatoscopy. Objectives: We sought to estimate the prevalence and assess the clinical significance of CS in melanocytic and nonmelanocytic lesions. Methods: This was a prospective observational study in which dermatoscopic assessment of lesions was recorded in consecutive patients examined during a 6-month period. In addition, a data set of biopsy-proven melanomas was retrospectively analyzed. Results: In all, 11,225 lesions in 881 patients were prospectively examined. Retrospectively, 229 melanomas imaged with polarized dermatoscopy were analyzed. In the prospective data set, a median of 12.7 lesions (range, 1-54) were evaluated per patient. None of clinically diagnosed Clark nevi (n = 9750, 86.8%) demonstrated CS. Overall, CS were observed in 206 (1.8%) lesions, most commonly dermatofibromas and scars among nonbiopsied lesions. A total of 265 (2.4%) lesions were biopsied, including 20 melanomas and 36 nevi. Among biopsied malignant lesions, CS were most commonly observed in basal cell carcinoma (47.6%) and invasive melanomas (84.6%). Melanomas were more likely to have CS than biopsied nevi (odds ratio = 9.7, 95% confidence interval 2.7-34.1). In the retrospective data set, CS were more commonly observed among invasive melanomas (41%) compared with in situ melanomas (17%) (odds ratio = 3.4, 95% confidence interval 1.9-6.3, P <.001). The prevalence of CS correlated with increased melanoma thickness (P =.001). Limitations: Biopsied lesions represent a small percentage of the total number of lesions evaluated. Conclusion: Among biopsied malignant lesions, CS are most commonly observed in basal cell carcinoma and invasive melanomas and rarely seen in nevi. In melanoma, CS may reflect increased tumor thickness and progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194.e1-194.e8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • basal cell carcinoma
  • crystalline/chrysalis structures
  • dermatofibroma
  • invasive melanoma
  • matrix remodeling
  • polarized dermatoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

Cite this

Balagula, Y., Braun, R. P., Rabinovitz, H. S., Dusza, S. W., Scope, A., Liebman, T. N., Mordente, I., Siamas, K., & Marghoob, A. A. (2012). The significance of crystalline/chrysalis structures in the diagnosis of melanocytic and nonmelanocytic lesions. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 67(2), 194.e1-194.e8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2011.04.039