Fast Five Quiz: Key Aspects of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Elwyn C. Cabebe, MD


December 02, 2021

Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies to spread to the skin. The most likely site for cutaneous metastases in women is the chest; less common sites include the scalp, the neck, the upper extremities, the abdomen, and the back.

Cutaneous metastases arise most commonly from cancers of the breast, skin, stomach, lungs, uterus, large intestine, and kidneys.

In most cases, cutaneous metastases develop after the initial diagnosis of the primary malignancy (eg, metastases of breast carcinoma involving the chest wall several years after a mastectomy).

Common cutaneous metastatic sites and their probable primary sites are:

  • Metastasis to scalp: Breast, lung, kidney

  • Metastasis to neck: Oral squamous cell carcinoma

  • Metastasis to face: Oral squamous cell carcinoma, renal cell, lung

  • Metastasis to extremities: Malignant melanoma, breast, lung, renal, intestinal

  • Metastasis to chest: Breast, lung, malignant melanoma

  • Metastasis to abdomen: Colon, lung, stomach, breast, ovary

  • Metastasis to umbilicus: Stomach, pancreas, colon, ovary, kidney, breast

  • Metastasis to pelvis: Colon

  • Metastasis to back: Lung

Learn more about dermatologic manifestations of metastatic carcinomas.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.