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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4

Primary malignant melanoma of the vagina: A case report and review of literature

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, NRS Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Radiotherapy, NRS Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2013

Correspondence Address:
Snehamay Chaudhuri
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, NRS Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-330X.105861

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A 60 year old woman presented in gynecology department with bleeding per vagina and subsequently histotpathologically, it was diagnosed as malignant melanoma of the vagina. She underwent excision biopsy. On metastatic work-up, Positron emission tomography (PET) scan proved that she had distant metastasis and received palliative radiotherapy and chemotherapy, with temozolamide. She is alive after one year.

Keywords: Malignant melanoma, melanoma, vagina

How to cite this article:
Chaudhuri S, Das D, Chowdhury S, Gupta AD. Primary malignant melanoma of the vagina: A case report and review of literature. South Asian J Cancer 2013;2:4

How to cite this URL:
Chaudhuri S, Das D, Chowdhury S, Gupta AD. Primary malignant melanoma of the vagina: A case report and review of literature. South Asian J Cancer [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Aug 10];2:4. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Malignant melanoma of vagina is a rare tumor with an incidence of only 0.46 cases per one million women per year [1] and less than 250 cases are reported in literature to date. [2],[3] It accounts for less than 1% of all malignant melanoma and less than 3% of all primary malignant tumors of the vagina. [4] This aggressive tumor has a poor prognosis with 5 year survival rate 5-25%. [4],[5],[6] The optimal treatment of vaginal melanoma is a subject of debate. [7] We present a case of primary vaginal malignant melanoma located in lower one third of vagina and review the current literature.

  Case Report Top

A 60 year old woman, P2 + 0, post-menopausal by 20 years, presented in gynecology department with the complaints of white discharge and recurrent small amount of bleeding per vagina for last 3 months. The patient was hypertensive, diabetic and had total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo oophorectomy 20 years ago. Per speculum vaginal examination revealed, a brown colored, firm nodule of 1cm 2 at lower 1/3 rd postero lateral vaginal wall without any surrounding vaginal colour changes. Bilateral parametria were free and rectum was normal and there was no inguinal lymphadenopathy. Wide local excision biopsy (Free margin 1 cm) was done and sent for histopathological examinations. Unfortunately we lost follow up of the patient for next six weeks and she returned with histopatological report of lesion of malignant melanoma of vaginal mucosa. At this point, her vaginal examination revealed healing of the wound site with presence of indurations and diffuse black colour change of both lower 1/3 rd of anterior and posterior vaginal wall [Figure 1]. MRI pelvis revealed a 3 × 1.9 × 1.6 cm mass in the posterolateral vagina with bilateral reactive lymph nodes in inguinal region.
Figure 1: Diffuse black pigmentation of vaginal mucosa

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Metastatic work up was done. PET scan revealed an ill-defined soft tissue mass in mid vagina involving left lateral wall (1.5 × 1.2 cm) standard uptake value (SUV = 5.6) with perilesional fat plane preserved. Irregular linear uptake of 18 fluro deoxy glucose (FDG) (SUV 9.7) was found along left vaginal wall with no obvious CT scan lesion. Few subcentimeter lymph nodes (SUV 2.3) were also present in both inguinal and external iliac region.

Patchy linear uptake (SUV 6.0) was found in right rectus abdominis muscle, with bilateral subcarinal lymph nodes (SUV 6.2) and another lesion was found in the infraumbilical region. However, definitive evidence of metastasis was not histopathologically confirmed by FNAC or excision biopsy.

The patient was treated with external beam radiotherapy (40 Gy in 10 fractions; 2 fractions per week) with palliative intent to the tumor bed, followed chemotherapy with six cycles of Temozolamide, 250 mg orally for 5 days, per cycle. The patient is alive after 1 year and under follow up [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Follow up of the patient at one year

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  Discussion Top

Primary malignant melanoma is a rare entity first reported by Poronas in 1887. [8] The tumor typically presents in the sixth and seventh decades of life and occurs more commonly in the lower 1/3 rd of the vagina and mostly in the anterior vaginal wall. [4] It affects post- menopausal women and does not have any known risk factors. [9] The most common symptoms are vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge and feeling a mass in the vagina. [4] Grossly, the tumour is polypoid to nodular in the majority of cases. [10] The appearance of the tumor is almost always pigmented and only 10-23% are amelanotic. [11] The peculiarity in presentation of our case is that on initial examination it presented as a brown colored nodular growth in the posterolateral vaginal wall and subsequently after excision biopsy it spread quickly as a diffuse lesion which was dark black in colour. The literature is scarce on this issue. The natural course of malignant melanomas is marked by early local recurrence, extensions and frequent metastases to the lymph nodes, viscera and also life threatening hemorrhage, making it the most dangerous form of vaginal tumor. [12] The differential diagnoses include metastasis from other sites, poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma and blue nevus. It has a high rate of recurrence and poor long term survival. [13]

The treatment modalities that are available include pelvic exenteration, radical surgery (total vaginectomy with or without vulvectomy), wide excision and non-surgical treatment (primary radiation therapy, chemotherapy or both). Wide excision may be wide radical excision or wide local excision where less than 2 cm circumferential margin is obtained because of difficult anatomic location of tumor. [5] Although earlier reports have advocated radical surgery as the mainstay of therapy, the recurrence rate and survival are similar in patients who have undergone of radical surgery and local excision. [14] The most recent data are in favour of a conservative approach and radiation therapy. [5],[15] Optimal treatment (radical surgery or radiotherapy) for an individual patient is a matter of controversy. [7] Since distant metastases are a component in 78% cases of recurrence, adjuvant systemic therapy might be warranted in these high risk cases. Multiple traditional cytotoxic agents, including decarbazine, temozolomide, and platinum compounds, nitrosoureas and taxanes, both as single agents and in combination, have been evaluated in the treatment of melanoma, with limited or no success. The response rate of these single agent is 11-22% with median overall survival of 5.6-11 months. [7] In our patient, Temozolamide was selected in view of less toxicity, better efficacy and ease of oral administration at home. The addition of interleukin- 2 to traditional cytotoxic agents has failed to show an improvement in overall survival but has considerably increased toxicity. [16] The prognosis of vaginal melanoma is very poor, regardless the treatment modality, because most cases are diagnosed at a late stage. [17]

In conclusion, the most accepted treatment of malignant melanoma of the vagina is surgery and post-operative radiotherapy. Primary malignant melanoma of the vagina has a poor prognosis with high risk of local recurrence and distant metastasis. In our case, local excision followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy was a tolerable treatment.

  References Top

1.Hu DN, Yu GP, McCormick SA. Population based incidence of vulvar and vaginal melanoma in various races and ethnic groups and comparison of other site specific maelanoma. Melanoma Res 2010;20:153-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Fulciniti F, Ascierto PA, Simeone E, Bove P, Lodito S, Russo S, et al. Nevoid melanoma of vagina: Report of one case diagnosed on thin layer cytological preparations. Cytojournal 2007;4:14.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
3.Piura B, Rabinovich, Yanai-Inber I. A Primary malignant melanoma of vagina: Case report and review of literature. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 2002;23:195-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Samolis S, Panagopoulos P, Kanellopoullos N, Papastefanou I, Karadaglis S, Katsoulis M. Primary malignant melanoma of vagina: Case report. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 2010;31;233-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Michael F, Mariano E, Charlotte CS, Pamela TS, Patricea JE, Charles FL, et al. Primary malignant melanoma of vagina. Obstet Gynecol 2010;116:1358-65.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Tjalma WA, Monagham JM, de Barros Lopes A, Naik R, Nordin A. Primary vaginal melanoma and long term survivors. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 2001;22:20-2.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Lin LT, Liu CB, Chen SN, Chiang AJ, Liou WS, Yu KJ. Primry malignant melanoma of the vagina with repeated local recurrences and brain metastasis. J Chin Med Assoc 2011;74:376-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Manlucu ED, Dickson H, Mahmood L, Nath ME. Case 167 - Bloody vaginal discharge, final diagnosis, primary malignant melanoma of vagina (Online). Available from: [Last accessed on 2012 Jan 28].  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Baloglu A, Bezircioglu I, Cetinkaya B, Yavuzcan A. Promary malignant melanoma of the vagina. Arch Gynecol Obstet 2009;280:819-22.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Gupta D, Malpica A, Deavers MT, Silva EG. Vaginal melanoma: A clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical study of 26 cases. Am J Surg Pathol 2002;26:1450-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Miner TJ, Delgado R, Zeisler J, Busam K, Alektiar K, Barakat R, et al. Primary vaginal melanoma: A critical analysis of therapy. Ann Surg Oncol 2004;11:34-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.McKinnan JG, Kokal WA, Neifeld JP. Natural history and treatment of mucosal melanoma. J Surg Oncol 1989;41:222-5.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Moros ML, Ferrer FP, Mitchell MJ, Romeo JA, Lacruz RL. Primary malignant melanoma of vagina - poor response to radical surgery and adjuvant therapy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2004;113:248-50.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Fallahian M, Zare KH. Multifocal malignant melanoma of female genital tract. Iran J Med Sci 2006;31:235-7.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Petru E, Nagele F, Czerwenka K. Primary malignant melanoma of vagina: Long term remission following radiation therapy. Gynecol Oncol 1998;70:23-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Rosenberg SA, Yang JC, Schwartzentruber DJ, Hwu P, Marincola FM, Topalian SL, et al. Prospective randomized trial of the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma using chemotherapy with cisplatin, decabazine and tamoxifen alone or in combination with interleukin 2 and interferon alfa - 2b. J Clin Oncol 1999;17:968-75.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Androutsopoulos G, Adonakis G, Ravazoula P, Kourounis G. Primary malignant melanoma of vagina: A case report. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 2005;26:661-2.  Back to cited text no. 17


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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