Signet-ring cell melanoma. A rare morphologic variant of malignant melanoma

Am J Surg Pathol. 1988 Jan;12(1):28-34. doi: 10.1097/00000478-198801000-00004.


We recently received in consultation a lymph node involved by metastatic malignant melanoma with unusual and previously undescribed morphologic features. The neoplastic cells had a striking signet-ring appearance, similar to the signet-ring cells normally seen in mucin-producing adenocarcinoma and signet-ring cell lymphoma. Review of our consultation files of malignant melanomas revealed an additional case in which the neoplastic cells had a signet-ring cell appearance. Electron microscopic studies revealed that formation of signet-ring cells is caused by the presence of abundant vimentin filaments in the cytoplasm of neoplastic cells. Immunologic studies using a series of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, including S-100 protein, HMB-45, vimentin, cytokeratin, leukocyte common antigen, and Leu-M1, on both cases clearly established the diagnosis of this morphologically unusual variant of malignant melanoma for which we propose the term "signet-ring cell melanoma."

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / analysis
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • S100 Proteins / analysis
  • Vimentin / analysis


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • S100 Proteins
  • Vimentin
  • Keratins
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens