WHO classification of skin tumors

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 13 Dec 2021

The World Health Organizatiοn classification of skin tumors is the most widely used pathologic classification system for skin tumors. The most recent edition is the 4th, which was published in 2018 1.  The radiologically relevant and common entities are reflected below.


 1. Keratinocytic/epidermal tumors
2. Melanocytic tumors
  • tumors occurring in intermittently sun-exposed skin:
    • melanocytic tumors in intermittently sun-exposed skin
    • low-cumulative sun damage (CSD) melanoma (superficial spreading melanoma)
    • simple lentigo and lentiginous melanocytic nevus
    • junctional, compound, and dermal nevi
    • dysplastic nevus
    • special-site nevi (of the breast, axilla, scalp, and ear)
    • deep penetrating nevus and melanocytoma
    • pigmented epithelioid melanocytoma
    • combined nevus, including combined BAP1-inactivated nevus/melanocytoma
  • tumors occurring in chronic sun exposure:
  • Spitz tumors, including benign (Spitz nevus) and malignant (Spitz melanoma) 
  • acral melanoma, acral nevus
  • ocular tumors:
  • other malignant melanoma types: nodular melanoma, nevoid melanoma, metastatic melanoma
3. Appendageal tumors
4. Hematolymphoid tumors
5. Soft tissue tumors

(for a more complete list see the WHO classification of soft tissue tumors)

6. Inherited tumor syndromes associated with skin malignancies

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