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Int J Clin Oncol. 2004 Jun;9(3):202-5.

Cutaneous and subcutaneous metastases of rectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 6 Weizmann Street, Tel Aviv 64239, Israel.


The occurrence of cutaneous metastatic disease from colorectal cancer is uncommon and typically signifies widespread disease with poor prognosis. Colorectal metastases usually occur within the first 3 years of follow up, and the median survival of patients after the appearance of cutaneous metastatic lesions is 18 to 20 months. We describe an unusual case of a 60-year-old woman with a metachronous skin lesion as the sole site of metastatic disease, and a relatively long interval between the appearance of skin metastases and death. The woman was found to have an adenocarcinoma of the rectum, a Dukes' C lesion, extending over the entire rectal wall into the perirectal fat; five of eight regional lymph nodes showed metastases. Adjuvant radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy was administered for about 1 year. A subcutaneous lump on the left abdominal wall found 16 months postoperatively was metastatic of rectal origin. A metastatic adenocarcinoma of rectal origin was found in a single left lower axillary node 26 months later. Despite metastatic work-up for the next 2 years, an enlarged and palpated metastatic left inguinal lymph node appeared and was subjected to radiation. Computerized tomography (CT) examination 5 years after the first presentation of the rectal tumor and almost 4 years after the diagnosis of abdominal skin metastases disclosed recurrent pelvic disease with severe left hydronephrosis. Treatment by systemic chemotherapy was partially successful, but she died 8 months after this chemotherapy was initiated.

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