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Vaginal melanoma is a rare malignancy that originates from melanocytes in the vaginal epithelium. It is also known as a melanocytic tumor or as a malignant melanoma.[1] It is aggressive and infrequently cured. The five year survival rate is approximately 21%.[2] It was first described in 1887 and only 500 cases are found in current literature. Vaginal melanoma is 3% of all vaginal cancers and only 0.3% of all melanomas. When the neoplasm is discovered it has already become invasive and prognosis is poor.[3][2] The average age of those diagnosed is sixty-years-old.[2]

Vaginal melanoma


This cancer most often develops on the lowest third of the vagina. It is darkly pigmented and of an irregular shape. Melanoma of the vagina can be as large as severally centimeters in size.[2]


When the tissue is assessed, the histological characteristics include:

  • the shape of the cells appear similar to epithelial and spindle-shaped
  • the growth occurs in the shapes of sheets and nests
  • the presence of melanin in the cells
  • the nucleus of the cells is large and abnormal[2]

Other cancersEdit

Other cancerous conditions arise from vaginal epithelium:[4]


Immunocytochemistry can reveal positive results for S-110 protein, HMB 45 and melan A.[2]


Chemotherapy may be ineffective and surgically removing the tumor and radiation treatment is standard.[2]


  1. ^ "Vulva and Vagina tumors: an overview".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Dey, Pranab (2017-02-06). Essentials of Gynecologic Pathology. JP Medical Ltd. p. 47. ISBN 9789386261205.
  3. ^ Kalampokas E, Kalampokas T, Damaskos C (January 2017). "Primary Vaginal Melanoma, A Rare and Aggressive Entity. A Case Report and Review of the Literature". In Vivo. 31 (1): 133–139. doi:10.21873/invivo.11036. PMC 5354139. PMID 28064232.
  4. ^ Chen L, Xiong Y, Wang H, Liang L, Shang H, Yan X (October 2014). "Malignant melanoma of the vagina: A case report and review of the literature". Oncology Letters. 8 (4): 1585–1588. doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2357. PMC 4156219. PMID 25202372.
  5. ^ a b "Vaginal Cancer Treatment". National Cancer Institute. 1980-01-01. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  6. ^ "About DES". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  7. ^ "Known Health Effects for DES Daughters". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 8, 2018.

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