Malignant melanoma with a rhabdoid phenotype: Histologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural study of a case and review of the literature

Jared J. Abbott, Robin H. Amirkhan, Mai P. Hoang

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57 Scopus citations


Malignant melanoma is known to display tremendous histologic diversity. One rare variant is the rhabdoid phenotype, so called because of the appearance of cells resembling rhabdomyoblasts seen in malignant rhabdoid tumors of the kidney. We present the histologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural features of a malignant melanoma composed entirely of rhabdoid cells. A 62-year-old man presented with a 6.5-cm lung mass. Although presumed to be a metastatic lesion, extensive workup failed to reveal a primary tumor site. Histologic sections showed a mass composed entirely of polygonal neoplastic cells with prominent nucleoli and large hyaline cytoplasmic inclusions. The tumor cells were strongly immunoreactive with S100 protein, vimentin, and CD56, and were focally reactive with Mart-1. Tumor cells were negative for Melan-A, tyrosinase, HMB-45, AE1/AE3, cytokeratin (CK) 7, CK8/ 18, CK20, CK903, CAM 5.2, epithelial membrane antigen, smooth muscle actin, desmin, leukocyte common antigen, Bcl-2, CD3, CD20, CD30, CD138, κ and λ light chains, CD68, CD34, factor VIII, synaptophysin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Electron microscopy showed cytoplasmic whorls of intermediate filaments containing entrapped rough endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and lipid. Recognition of this rare variant of malignant melanoma is important in the evaluation of tumors with rhabdoid morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-688
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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