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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Malignant eccrine spiradenoma

Other Names for this Disease
  • Eccrine spiradenoma, malignant
  • MES
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Your Question

My best friend has just been diagnosed with malignant eccrine spiradenoma.  Do you have any information about this cancer?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is malignant eccrine spiradenoma?

Malignant eccrine spiradenoma is a type of tumor that develops from a sweat gland in the skin.  It starts as a rapidly-growing bump on the head or abdomen, and may cause tenderness, redness, or an open wound.[1]  The exact cause of malignant eccrine spiradenoma is unknown, though it is thought that sun exposure or problems with the immune system (immunosuppression) may contribute to the development of this tumor.[2]  Because malignant eccrine spiradenoma is quite rare, there are no established treatment guidelines; however, in practice, surgery is often performed to remove the tumor and additional treatments may follow, depending on the severity and extent of the cancer.[1][2]
Last updated: 11/14/2011

How might malignant eccrine spiradenoma be treated?

Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible is usually the first step of treatment for malignant eccrine spiradenoma.  Both a traditional surgical technique known as wide local excision and the newer Mohs micrographic surgery are thought to be effective for treating this cancer.  Additional treatment may include radiation therapy to destroy any cancer cells that might remain after surgery.  Though chemotherapy has been used in cases of malignant eccrine spiradenoma, it is thought to be of limited help in treating this disease.[1]
Last updated: 11/14/2011

What is the prognosis for individuals diagnosed with malignant eccrine spiradenoma?

There is one article which reviews treatment and survival in 72 patients with malignant eccrine spiradenoma.  For those patients whose cancer remained in the original location and had not spread to nearby lymph nodes, all of them were alive and disease-free during the time they were followed by their physicians (the follow-up time for these individuals ranged from six months to 12 years, with an average follow-up time of three years for the group).  Of the patients whose tumor had spread to lymph nodes, half were alive and disease-free during follow-up (the follow-up time for these individuals ranged from two months to 8 years, with an average follow-up time of four years for the group).  Survival was the lowest for those patients whose tumor had spread beyond the lymph nodes to more distant parts of the body (metastasized).[1]
Last updated: 11/14/2011

  • Andreoli MT, Itani KM. Malignant eccrine spiradenoma: a meta-analysis of reported cases. American Journal of Surgery. 2011; 201:695-699. Accessed 11/8/2011.
  • Kampshoff JL, Cogbill TH. Unusual skin tumors: Merkel cell carcinoma, eccrine carcinoma, glomus tumors, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2009; 89:727-738. Accessed 11/8/2011.