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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Digestive System Melanoma


Other Names for this Disease
  • Melanoma of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Melanoma of the GI tract
  • Malignant melanoma of the gastrointestinal tract
  • primary gastrointestinal melanoma
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Overview

Digestive system melanoma refers to a melanoma starting in the stomach, intestines, salivary glands, mouth, esophagus, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, or rectum. Melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the melanocytes. Melanocytes are commonly found in the skin and are the cells that give the skin color. While it is not uncommon for melanomas to start in the skin and later spread to other parts of the body (metastasize), melanomas originating in the gastrointestinal tract are rare. The most frequently reported site is in the esophagus and anorectum.[1] Symptoms of a digestive system melanoma may be nonspecific, including blood in the stool, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and anemia (low red blood cell count).[2] The cause of digestive system melanoma is not well understood. Some researchers theorize that it may have originated from an undetected primary tumor.[1][2] Treatment may include surgical excision of the gastrointestinal tract involved, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.[2]
Last updated: 6/23/2016

References

  1. Letovanec I, Vionnet M, Bouzourene H. . Primary appendiceal melanoma: Fiction or reality?. Human Pathol. 2004 May;
  2. Andreas V. Hadjinicolaou,corresponding author1 Christopher Hadjittofi, Panagiotis G. Athanasopoulos, Rahul Shah,Aftab A. Ala. Primary small bowel melanomas: fact or myth?. Ann Transl Med. Mar 2016; 4(6):113. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828744/.
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Basic Information

  • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.

In Depth Information

  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Digestive System Melanoma. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Melanoma of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Melanoma of the GI tract
  • Malignant melanoma of the gastrointestinal tract
  • primary gastrointestinal melanoma
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.