Vitiligo in patients with metastatic melanoma: a good prognostic sign.

PubMed ID: 6643767

Author(s): Nordlund JJ, Kirkwood JM, Forget BM, Milton G, Albert DM, Lerner AB. Vitiligo in patients with metastatic melanoma: a good prognostic sign. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1983 Nov;9(5):689-96. PMID 6643767

Journal: Journal Of The American Academy Of Dermatology, Volume 9, Issue 5, Nov 1983

We have identified and studied twenty-seven patients with melanoma who also had vitiligo. Four patients had vitiligo before the diagnosis of melanoma, and twenty-three developed depigmentation after the diagnosis of malignancy. We also have reviewed published reports about twenty-four other patients with melanoma who developed vitiligo. The clinical course of the melanoma in the fifty-one patients was remarkably similar. Thirty-seven had a melanoma arising at a site which tends to carry a poor prognosis, for example, on the trunk, under the nail, or on the mucous membranes. Forty-nine patients had metastases in regional lymph nodes or at distal sites. Thirty-three patients survived 5 years, and twenty-five survived 10 years. These data suggest that the appearance of vitiligo in patients with metastatic melanoma portends a longer survival than expected. The patients with vitiligo are not necessarily cured and eventually may succumb to metastatic disease. We were unable to determine whether the vitiligo caused retardation of tumor growth or whether the melanoma caused vitiligo.