Vitiligo in patients with metastatic melanoma: A good prognostic sign

James J. Nordlund, John M. Kirkwood, Bernadette M. Forget, Gerard Milton, Daniel M. Albert, Aaron B. Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Scopus citations


We have identified and studied twenty-seven patients with melanoma who also had vitiligo Four patients had vitiligo before the diagnosis of melanoma, and twenty-three developed depigmentation after the diagnosis of malignancy We also have reviewed published reports about twenty-four other patients with melanoma who developed vitiligo The clinical course of the melanoma in the fifty-one patients was remarkably similar Thirty-seven had a melanoma arising at a site which tends to carry a poor prognosis, for example, on the trunk, under the nail, or on the mucous membranes Forty-nine patients had metastases in regional lymph nodes or at distal sites Thirty-three patients survived 5 years, and twenty-five survived 10 years These data suggest that the appearance of vitiligo in patients with metastatic melanoma portends a longer survival than expected The patients with vitiligo are not necessarily cured and eventually may succumb to metastatic disease We were unable to determine whether the vitiligo caused retardation of tumor growth or whether the melanoma caused vitiligo

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-696
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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