Cardiac metastases from malignant melanoma

Cancer. 1999 Jan 1;85(1):78-84.


Background: Cardiac metastases are uncommon, with the exception of malignant melanoma. More cases of cardiac involvement are being diagnosed in association with the rising incidence and increasing survival of patients with melanoma. Surgical intervention may be an effective palliative measure and should be considered for selected patients who present with this problem.

Methods: In this article, the authors present clinical, laboratory, and imaging data from two patients with malignant melanoma who presented with cardiac metastases. A discussion of these patients is accompanied by a review of the current literature on this topic.

Results: Two females with known metastatic malignant melanoma presented with nonspecific pulmonary symptoms and were found to have intracardiac metastases involving the right heart. One patient underwent successful surgical removal of a large tumor mass, which resulted in relief of symptoms and prevention of imminent death from cardiac complications. Together with the literature review, these cases demonstrate the important clinical features of cardiac metastases from melanoma and define the best means of diagnosis as well as the potential benefits of surgical intervention.

Conclusions: Cardiac involvement by malignant melanoma is now diagnosed with increasing frequency. A diagnosis can be made with relative ease, but clinical suspicion must precede it. Surgery may be useful to palliate symptoms and prevent death from cardiac complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Female
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Heart Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Melanoma / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology