Fulminant hepatic failure secondary to malignant melanoma: case report and review of the literature

Am J Gastroenterol. 1999 Jan;94(1):262-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.1999.00811.x.


Malignant melanoma has a propensity to metastasize widely to many organs, involving the liver in up to one-third of cases. Fulminant hepatic failure is an unusual presentation of hepatic neoplasms, whether primary or metastatic. We describe a case of malignant melanoma with liver metastases that rapidly progressed to fulminant hepatic failure and death. Striking elevations of liver tests, particularly lactate dehydrogenase, were seen. Liver biopsy showed diffuse intrasinusoidal infiltration with melanoma cells. In patients with malignant melanoma, raised serum lactate dehydrogenase levels may suggest hepatic involvement, with extreme elevations possibly predictive of liver failure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / complications
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*