Skin nonmelanocytic tumor

Other tumors of skin


Topic Completed: 1 November 2014

Minor changes: 15 April 2021

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Metastatic carcinoma [title] skin

Ghassan A. Tranesh, M.D.
Hong Qu, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 2,044
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Cite this page: Tranesh GA, Qu H. Metastatic. website. Accessed October 24th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Cutaneous metastases from many internal organ sites or soft tissue sarcomas are uncommon (J Surg Case Rep 2014 Sep 9;2014)
  • Men: usually from lung (25%), colon, melanoma, kidney, upper aerodigestive tract
  • Women: usually from breast (69%), lung, melanoma, kidney, ovary
  • Metastasis is often close to site of primary
  • Local recurrence / regional metastasis most commonly occurs upon anterior chest wall
  • Scalp is tmost commonly observed distant metastatic site
Case reports
  • 73 year old woman with cutaneous metastases as only sign of extranodal tumor spread (ISRN Surg 2011;2011:902971)
  • 83 year old woman with herpetiform cutaneous metastases from transitional cell carcinoma of bladder (J Clin Pathol 2006;59:1331)
  • 91 year old woman with seven month history of redness and swelling around her right eye (BMJ 2007;334:1228)
  • Treat underlying malignancy, possible excision of metastasis
Clinical images

Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.

Metastatic breast carcinoma

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Cutaneous metastases

Gross description
  • Often multiple, firm, nonulcerated nodules, but may be solitary
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma within dermis and often underlying subcutaneous tissue
  • Tumor cells in sheets or clusters or as single detached cells
  • Either abortive gland formation or "signet ring" cells (with central, cleared mucin-filled space which compresses and marginalizes the cell nucleus)
  • Tumor cells may show a "single file" appearance (metastatic lobular breast carcinoma)
  • Cytologic atypia in small to large epithelioid cells, often with striking nuclear pleomorphism
  • Tumor cells may produce mucin, or mucinous debris may separate collagen bundles
  • Variable desmoplasia or sclerosis of dermal collagen
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.

Metastatic breast carcinoma

Images hosted on other servers:

Metastatic bladder urothelial carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma - metastatic

p63- metastatic adenocarcinoma

Positive stains
Negative stains
  • Negative immunostains for metastatic breast adenocarcinoma are S100 (positive in melanoma), TTF1 (positive in lung adenocarcinoma), CK20 and CDX2 (positive in colon adenocarcinoma)
Differential diagnosis
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