Tonsil metastasis from cutaneous melanoma: first clinical sign of recurrence after complete lymph node dissection

J Cutan Med Surg. 2010 Jan-Feb;14(1):43-5. doi: 10.2310/7750.2009.08084.


Background: The development of melanoma metastasis to the palatine tonsil is a very rare event, generally associated with advanced-stage disease and poor prognosis.

Case presentation: A 29-year-old man presented with a melanoma metastasis to the right palatine tonsil 6 months after the surgical excision of an ulcerated nodular melanoma (tumor thickness 1.8 mm, Clark level IV) on the left shoulder. A metastatic sentinel lymph node had been removed from the left axilla, and a subsequent complete lymph node dissection had disclosed no further metastatic lymph nodes. Although staging tests had revealed multiple visceral metastases, a palliative tonsillectomy was performed. The patient died of metastases 5 months later.

Conclusion: The case presentation suggests that careful examination of the head and neck should be part of the routine follow-up visit in all melanoma patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Tonsillar Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Tonsillar Neoplasms / surgery
  • Tonsillectomy