Skin as a site of metastasis

Stephanie Aldret, Lora Cotton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cutaneous metastasis is a rare occurrence but may be the presenting sign of a primary internal malignancy. Skin, breast, lung, gastrointestinal, and kidney are the most common primary malignancies to metastasize to skin. Common regions for cutaneous metastasis include the scalp, abdomen, chest, back, and extremities. The appearance of cutaneous metastasis is a preterminal occurrence and clinically a very poor prognostic sign. Skin cancer was the topic chosen, but it was decided to explore skin as a site of metastasis rather than primary melanoma, squamous cell, or basal cell carcinoma. A search and review of the literature on PubMed was performed to identify cases of cutaneous metastasis caused by a variety of primary sources in adults-mainly breast, lung, skin, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, renal, and thyroid. Inclusion criteria for the review was most common types of cancer in adults, appearance of lesions, and cutaneous metastasis to distant regions rather than direct extension with the exception of breast cancer. Primary malignancies found in children, lymphomas, and leukemias were not included in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalOsteopathic Family Physician
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Cancer
  • Cutaneous metastasis
  • Metstasis
  • Skin cancer


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