Brain metastases in children with melanoma

Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, Alberto S. Pappo, Sue C. Kaste, Baskar N. Rao, Alvida Cain, Jesse J. Jenkins, Larry E. Kun, Charles B. Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Brain metastases complicate the course of malignant melanoma in at least 20% of adult cases. These events are commonly preceded by metastases to other sites. Due to the rarity of malignant melanoma in children, little is known about the incidence, clinical features, and outcome of children with melanoma who develop brain metastases. METHODS. The authors reviewed the records of 44 children with malignant melanoma treated at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital over a 33-year period. Eight (18%) developed brain metastases during the course of their disease. The authors reviewed the clinical and radiologic features of six of these cases, for whom complete clinical information and imaging studies were available. RESULTS. The median age at diagnosis of malignant melanoma was 15 years (range, 11-21 years). Brain metastases developed a median of 20 months (range, 0-50 months) after diagnosis and were preceded by metastases to other organs in 5 patients. In most cases, lesions were supratentorial and multiple. Most showed radiologic signs of intralesional hemorrhage. All patients received whole brain radiotherapy, and one had surgical resection. Three patients received chemotherapy. Five patients died a median of 5 months (range, 2- 10 months) after diagnosis of brain involvement. One patient, who had a single brain metastasis at diagnosis, is alive more than 34 months later. CONCLUSIONS. Brain metastases develop in a significant proportion of children with malignant melanoma and are associated with a poor outcome. The incidence, features, and outcome in children do not appear to differ from those in adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2440-2445
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1997


  • Brain metastases
  • Childhood cancer
  • Intratumoral hemorrhage
  • Malignant melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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