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Ochsner J. 2019 Summer;19(2):181-183. doi: 10.31486/toj.17.0083.

Delayed Metastatic Melanoma to the Pharyngeal Tonsil in an African American Female.

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Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA.
University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC.


Background: Metastatic melanoma to the mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract is extremely rare, accounting for <0.6% of known metastasis to the head and neck region. We present a case of delayed metastatic melanoma to the pharyngeal tonsil. Case Report: A 57-year-old African American female presented for evaluation of a rapidly enlarging unilateral tonsil mass. Three years prior to presentation, she had undergone primary resection of and systemic therapy for cutaneous melanoma on the sole of her right foot. Tonsillectomy confirmed the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma. Because of the poor prognosis of the disease, the patient was referred for palliative chemotherapy but died shortly after beginning treatment. Conclusion: Metastatic melanoma is a rare disease in African Americans, and the presence of metastatic lesions is a significant prognostic indicator for long-term patient survival. Meticulous head and neck examinations should be performed during the follow-up period, and any pigmented lesion should have a high suspicion for metastasis in any patient with a history of cutaneous melanoma.


Head and neck neoplasms; melanoma; tonsillar neoplasms

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