Cutaneous Markers of Internal Malignancy

Lennart Emtestam, Karin Sartorius


Different types of skin change are associated with internal malignancy. Tumour may spread to the skin from adjacent tissues, or may be deposited in the skin by metastasis. More typically dermatologists are called upon to assess paraneoplastic phenomena involving the skin, or to comment on dermatoses which are known, in some cases, to be markers of internal malignancy. Certain rare, inherited conditions, which have skin manifestations, carry a risk for the development of internal neoplasia. In other paraneoplastic settings, dysfunction of physiological activities, such as flushing or clotting, can lead the dermatologist to suspect an associated cancer. Potential cutaneous markers of internal malignancy vary in their reliability for predicting underlying neoplasia. The extent and intensity of the investigations for malignancy should therefore be tempered by a general assessment of the patient.
Keywords internal malignancy, paraneoplastic phenomena, paraneoplastic dermatosis, direct tumour spread, cutaneous metastasis, genodermatoses, immunodeficiency syndromes, migratory erythema, paraneoplastic pruritus


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