Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 2178–2183 | Cite as

Metastatic Melanoma to the Colon, Rectum, and Anus: A 50-Year Experience

  • Jin-soo Park
  • Kheng-Seong Ng
  • Robyn P. M. Saw
  • John F. Thompson
  • Christopher J. Young



Melanoma metastatic to the large bowel (colon, rectum, and anus) is rarely diagnosed, with more than 95% of large bowel metastases identified post-mortem. The incidence, natural history, and survival rates of patients with large bowel melanoma metastases are poorly documented in the literature.


This study aimed to identify the incidence, clinical characteristics, and survival of patients with large bowel melanoma metastases.


A review was undertaken of all patients with melanoma treated over a 50-year period (1964–2014) at a tertiary referral center. Cases selected for study were those diagnosed with melanoma metastases in the colon, rectum, and anus. Primary colorectal and anal melanomas were excluded. Data were retrieved relating to patient demographics, clinical features, and survival.


Of 38,279 patients with primary melanoma, 106 patients (0.3%, mean age 51.0 years [standard deviation 16.3], 64 males) developed large bowel metastases. The median interval between diagnosis of primary melanoma and large bowel metastasis was 62.8 months (range 1–476). The most common symptom was rectal bleeding (29.2%), and the large bowel was the sole site of metastasis in 47.2% of patients. Median survival from diagnosis of large bowel metastasis was 31.7 months (range 1–315), and overall survival at 1, 2, and 5 years was 68.1, 45.9, and 26.5%, respectively.


Our study provides insights into melanoma metastatic to the colon, rectum, and anus, which had an incidence of 0.3%. There are potentially long intervals between diagnosis of primary melanoma and large bowel metastasis. The most common symptom was rectal bleeding, although some patients were asymptomatic.


Author Contributions

Dr. Jin-soo Park is the primary author of this manuscript and contributed to data collection and writing of the final manuscript; Dr. Kheng-Seong Ng contributed to reviewing the final manuscript; Associate Professor Robyn P.M. Saw contributed to data collection and reviewing the final manuscript; Professor John F. Thompson contributed to data collection and reviewing the final manuscript; and Professor Christopher J. Young was involved in project conception and contributed to data collection and reviewing the final manuscript.


Jin-soo Park, Kheng-Seong Ng, Robyn P.M. Saw, John F. Thompson, and Christopher J. Young declare no conflicts of interest and no support from any organization for the submitted work. Robyn P.M. Saw has received honoraria from Bristol-Myers-Squibb, and John F. Thompson has received honoraria from Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline and Provectus, Inc., and is supported by the Melanoma Foundation of the University of Sydney. All authors agree with the content of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin-soo Park
    • 1
  • Kheng-Seong Ng
    • 1
  • Robyn P. M. Saw
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • John F. Thompson
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Christopher J. Young
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Colorectal SurgeryRoyal Prince Alfred HospitalSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Melanoma and Surgical OncologyRoyal Prince Alfred HospitalSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Melanoma Institute AustraliaThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Discipline of SurgeryThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.RPAH Medical CentreNewtownAustralia

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