Alopecia neoplastica: An uncommon presentation of metastatic breast carcinoma

Felipe Ladeira de Oliveira, Luisa Kelmer Cortês de Barros Silveira, Thais Schiavo Moraes, Fernanda Helena Craide, Maria Cristina Mejia Briceño, Bernard Kawa Kac


Cutaneous metastasis may correspond to the initial clinical presentation of hidden internal malignancies. In patients presenting said neoplasia, clinical manifestations of breast cancer reaches 23.9%. Considering that neoplastic alopecia appears as an unusual pattern of the said metastasis, this report describes a case of such uncommon neoplastic alopecia which presents itself as a cutaneous metastasis of rapid progression in a patient with prior breast cancer history. We present a 47-year-old female patient reporting lesions at the scalp, and who was asymptomatic with a 1-year evolution. The patient reported prior breast cancer history and presence of lung metastasis, and was undergoing chemotherapy at the time of consultation. A dermatological evaluation showed only a nodular lesion with erythematous surface and a diameter measuring about 4 cm, firm in consistency, and immovable. She was routed to the Department of Dermatological Surgery, and the results from histopathology were consistent with a diagnosis of metastatic breast adenocarcinoma. Neoplastic alopecia appears as an unusual form of cutaneous metastasis which is predominantly described in association with breast cancer. The lesion’s clinical features play a crucial role at the differential diagnosis, as the presence of erythema could distinguish neoplastic alopecia from alopecia areata. The existence of cutaneous metastasis leads to unfavorable outcomes. As a conclusion, cutaneous evaluation of patients is essential for treating visceral metastases, since the forms of cutaneous metastasis are diverse and can also affect the scalp.


alopecia; breast cancer; metastasis; skin cancer

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