Melanoma of the gallbladder: a review of cases seen at Duke University Medical Center.
BACKGROUND: Both primary and metastatic melanoma of the gallbladder are rare. In cases involving isolated tumors of the gallbladder, there continues to be controversy regarding the establishment of primary status. Despite appropriate therapy, the diagnosis of either condition portends a poor prognosis, with few patients surviving more than 2 years. METHODS: A review of all patients seen at Duke University Medical Center since 1970 generated 1 case of primary and 19 cases of secondary melanoma of the gallbladder. These were analyzed with respect to presentation, clinical and pathologic diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. RESULTS: The sole patient with a primary lesion presented with acute cholecystitis. Ultrasound demonstrated a mass in the lumen of the gallbladder. Cholecystectomy revealed melanoma, and the patient eventually died of disseminated disease 13.5 months later. Survival was poor for patients who presented with metastases to the gallbladder in the setting of widespread disease, with 0% survival at 1 year (n=11). Those with isolated, resectable lesions fared better overall, with 100% survival (n=6) at 1 year. One patient remains alive and free of disease 13.8 years later, which, to our knowledge, represents the longest documented survival for a patient with melanoma that has metastasized to the gallbladder. CONCLUSIONS: Surgery remains the mainstay of therapy for patients with gallbladder melanoma and appears to improve patient outcome in the setting of resectable disease. Hopefully, further investigations will lead to standardized protocols for the treatment of these lesions.
Dong, XD; DeMatos, P; Prieto, VG; Seigler, HF
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