Sinusoidal Growth Pattern of Hepatic Melanoma Metastasis: Implications for Histopathologic Diagnosis

Julianne M. Szczepanski, Mishal Mendiratta-Lala, Jiayun M. Fang, Won Tak Choi, Dipti M. Karamchandani, Maria Westerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Metastatic tumors interface with liver in multiple patterns, of which, the rare "sinusoidal" growth pattern can be subtle and easily overlooked on biopsy. We sought to characterize the metastasis-to-liver interface patterns of melanoma compared with other tumor types and assess the incidence of metastatic melanoma in histologically normal-appearing targeted liver lesion biopsies. Liver lesion samples from 54 melanoma patients were assessed. Nearly normal-appearing cases, defined as no obvious malignancy on routine hematoxylin and eosin stain (n=24), were stained with SOX10 and confirmed with MelanA. Tumor-to-liver interface patterns were determined in biopsies overtly positive for metastatic melanoma (n=30) versus other hepatic metastases as controls (colon, n=28; breast, n=20; pancreaticobiliary, n=20; and neuroendocrine, n=28). Of the 24 nearly normal-appearing liver biopsies from melanoma patients, 3 had subtle melanoma cells detected in sinusoids, confirmed with immunohistochemistry. Of 30 livers overtly positive for melanoma, 8 showed the sinusoidal pattern, compared with none in other metastases. In total, 11/33 (33%) cases of metastatic melanoma liver biopsies demonstrated the sinusoidal pattern. We describe 11 metastatic melanoma cases in liver with the rare sinusoidal pattern, 3 of which were subtle and easy to miss on routine hematoxylin and eosin stain. Given that sinusoidal metastasis does not elicit a tissue reaction, it is prudent for the pathologists to be aware of this pattern of metastases and have a low threshold to order immunostains for accurate diagnosis and optimal patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-839
Number of pages8
JournalThe American journal of surgical pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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