Primary meningeal malignant melanoma

Primary meningeal malignant melanomas, or merely meningeal melanoma, is a primary melanocytic tumour of the CNS and represent malignant neoplasms of the leptomeningeal melanocytes, derived from neural crest cells. 

Unlike meningeal melanocytosis, which is diffuse, meningeal melanoma presents as a solitary mass. 

Meningeal melanomas are encountered in all age groups 1

These durally based extra-axial tumours occur anywhere in the central nervous system, but appear to have a predilection for the spinal cord and posterior fossa, similar to meningeal melanocytomas 1

Macroscopic appearance

Meningeal melanomas appear as circumscribed masses of variable pigmentation from black to non-pigmented 1

Microscopic appearance

Microscopically, meningeal melanomas appear similar to malignant melanomas elsewhere in the body. They demonstrate cellular pleomorphism and atypia, necrosis and are mitotically active, features which are helpful in distinguishing them from meningeal melanocytomas 1

Immunophenotype

As is the case with other primary melanocytic tumours of the CNS, meningeal melanocytomas usually demonstrate the following immunohistochemical staining 1

These tumours appear as extra-axial masses, with enhancement on both CT and MRI. They may have variable T1 signal hyperintensity depending on the degree of melanin present. 

Meningeal melanomas are aggressive lesions with a generally poor prognosis, although as they are localised, they have a better prognosis than melanoma metastases to the dura 1

Share article

Article information

rID: 52961
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Meningeal melanoma
  • Meningeal melanomas

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.