Send to

Choose Destination
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001 Mar;124(3):248-52.

Skin metastases in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Author information

Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Distant metastases in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) are most often to the lung, liver, and bone. SCCHN rarely metastasizes to skin sites.


To ascertain the significance of skin metastases (SM) on the prognosis of patients with SCCHN.


A retrospective review of all patients between 1987 and 1999 with SCCHN was conducted. Patients in whom SM developed were identified. Data pertaining to demographics, primary tumor staging, SM development, and outcome were investigated.


In 798 consecutive patients diagnosed with SCCHN between 1987 and 2000, 19 developed SM. The average time of onset of the SM was 17.65 months. The average survival time was 7.2 months after the development of SM. The overall survival time of patients who developed SM from the initial presentation of the primary tumor was 24.85 months. The 1-year survival rate from the time of development of SM was 0%.


Metastasis to skin sites is an uncommon feature of SCCHN. SM may represent the first clinical evidence of impending loco-regional recurrence or distant metastasis. The development of SM is an ominous sign associated with an extremely poor prognosis, similar to the development of distant metastasis at more typical sites. Both the development of SM and survival of patients developing SM are independent of primary tumor stage. Current treatment options of SM are limited in their efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center