Cutaneous Metastasis of Internal Tumors

Dermatol Clin. 2019 Oct;37(4):545-554. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2019.05.012. Epub 2019 Jul 10.


Cutaneous metastasis portends a poor prognosis. Therefore, a high clinical index of suspicion is necessary so that a clinician knows how to recognize the presentation of a cutaneous metastasis, while the pathologist must know the appropriate stains to order. In this review, the authors summarize the common and uncommon ways that these tumors will present. Frequently a metastatic cancer will present as a firm red nodule or as a plaque, ulcer, or papule. Less commonly they will present with a clinical clue that can alert a clinician to a likely diagnosis; these manifestations include alopecic, vesicular, blue color, sclerodermoid, acrochordon-, or pellagra-like.

Keywords: Cutaneous; Dermatopathology; Histopathology; Internal tumor; Malignancy; Metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary*