This study was performed as an initial step to evaluate the possible effects of steroid hormones on benign nevi. Cytoplasmic receptors for estrogen were found in nine (41%) of 21 benign nevi from melanoma patients. Ten (37%) of 27 melanoma tumor tissues also had receptor for estrogen. Benign nevi from 17 normal persons had no estrogen receptor activity. The similar incidence of estrogen receptor in benign nevi from melanoma patients and in melanoma tissue itself, compared with the absence of receptor in benign nevi from a normal population, suggests that steroid hormones such as estrogen may represent a molecular alteration associated with a potential pathophysiologic transformation of a benign nevus to its malignant counterpart.
(JAMA 244:791-793, 1980)