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Head Neck. 2008 Feb;30(2):267-72.

Spontaneous regression of cutaneous head and neck melanoma: implications for the immunologic control of neoplasia.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Spontaneous regression of cancer in the head and neck is a rare event. Moreover, there are rare reported cases of spontaneous regression of primary head and neck melanoma with accompanying immunohistochemical analysis of the tumor.

METHODS:

We used detailed preoperative and postoperative pathologic examination of a lesion in the right supraclavicular region.

RESULTS:

Pathologic examination of the initial specimen identified a melanoma of superficial spreading type with vertical growth and a thickness of 1.8 mm. The excised specimen demonstrated a complete regression of the melanoma with a florid host inflammatory response predominantly composed of a histiocytic reaction.

CONCLUSION:

The case presented illustrates histopathologic findings occurring in a head and neck melanoma as it is undergoing spontaneous regression. These findings point to a potentially critical role for histiocytes in effecting tumor elimination. Pathologic analysis of spontaneous head and neck melanoma regression will ultimately facilitate an improved understanding of naturally-occurring tumor elimination.

PMID:
17657794
DOI:
10.1002/hed.20701
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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