Melanotic neuroectodermal tumor of infancy (MNTI) is a rare, distinctive neoplasm containing melanin; it primarily affects the maxilla of the infants during the first year of life. Approximately 150 instances of this tumor are reported in the medical literature. Genesis of the tumor is obscure and the diagnosis is challenging for the pathologist. Two cases operated by the first author are presented, and the diagnostic features and treatment alternatives of MNTI discussed. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.