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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Primary melanoma of the adrenal gland: a case report and review of the literature

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Luis González-Sáez, Salvador Pita-Fernández, Maria José Lorenzo-Patiño, Francisco Arnal-Monreal, José Machuca-Santacruz, José Romero-González
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-273) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

LGS participated surgical treatment, design and drafted manuscript. SPF participated in the design, literature review and drafted manuscript. MJLP participated in histopathology immunohistochemical study. FAM participated in histopathology and immunohistochemical study. JMS participated in surgical treatment. JARG participated in surgical treatment. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Primary melanoma of the adrenal gland is exceptionally rare as demonstrated by the few cases reported in the medical literature, and it has a high fatality rate. We present the case of a patient with two relapses and survival to date.

Case report

We describe the case of a 58-year-old Caucasian woman who consulted her doctor with symptoms of asthenia, anorexia and weight loss. A mass was palpated in her abdomen at the height of the left hypochondrium. A computed tomographic scan revealed a retroperitoneal mass measuring 10 cm × 15 cm originating in the left adrenal gland. A left nephroadrenalectomy and splenectomy were performed. Histopathologically, the retroperitoneal mass corresponded to a melanoma, and no primary melanoma was found in any other location. The patient was treated with interferon-α-2b. Three years after her diagnosis the patient presented with a retroperitoneal relapse of the mass measuring 7.2 cm, which was removed. Five years after the first relapse a new retroperitoneal relapse mass was diagnosed, which was also removed. Since then the patient has been healthy and free from illness.


Histological and immunohistochemical studies, together with the criteria described by Ainsworth et al. and Carstens et al., allowed us to diagnose primary melanoma of the adrenal gland.

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