Join Us | Latest Articles | Contact

Journal Home

Editorial Board


Submit to this journal

Current issue

Clinical Medical Reviews and Case Reports

DOI: 10.23937/2378-3656/1410105

The Spread of Melanoma to the Adrenal Glands: Historical Cases

Wilson I B Onuigbo*

Department of Pathology, Medical Foundation and Clinic, Nigeria

*Corresponding author: Wilson I B Onuigbo, Department of Pathology, Medical Foundation and Clinic, 8 Nsukka Lane, Enugu 400001, Nigeria, E-mail:
Clin Med Rev Case Rep, CMRCR-3-105, (Volume 3, Issue 5), Review Article; ISSN: 2378-3656
Received: March 02, 2016 | Accepted: May 10, 2016 | Published: May 12, 2016
Citation: Onuigbo WIB (2016) The Spread of Melanoma to the Adrenal Glands: Historical Cases. Clin Med Rev Case Rep 3:105. 10.23937/2378-3656/1410105
Copyright: © 2016 Onuigbo WIB. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Personal interest in cancer metastasis to the adrenal glands began in 1957 and matured in a Doctorate Thesis in 1961. Part of its eminence lay in cases in which it was the only soil selected for attack. What of the melanoma? The available historical account did not contain this answer. Therefore, this paper aims to determine the situation in the classical Transactions of the Pathological Society of London, which began to publish during the 1846 - 1848 period.


Melanoma, Metastasis, Adrenal gland, History


Research on the spread of cancer in the human body resulted in 1957 with the personal discovery of the eminence of the adrenal glands in terms of apparent selectivity [1]. This was accepted in Muir's famous Text-Book of Pathology during the following year [2] and, by 1961, my Doctorate Thesis expounded on it [3] Moreover, the next stage was the explanatory role of lymphangiogenesis [4]. Perhaps, the present paper, by examining the findings of the medical masters'of yester years, may be rewarding. Therefore, let me refer to the Transactions of the Pathological Society of London that began to publish from the 1846-48 period [5]. Such a study is in consonance with the recommendation of Macfarlane Burnet [6], an eminent scientist, namely, "to read about the theories of brilliant men writing half a century ago". Indeed, since one could go beyond that period, this is the real purpose of this historical documentation.

Historical Texts

As only the head was examined by Kesteven [7], his contribution was not helpful. This also occurred when Legg [8] looked at and pronounced these glands to be "natural". Unfortunately, these glands were merely included among the "viscera" included under the generalization for the metastasized sites by Battle [9]. Two co-authors [10] listed the organs affected in a group of the Transactions cases; they found the adrenals in the 8th position whereas the liver was 1st in position.

What of the necked-eye appearances? In the words of Godlee [11], "Some minute growths were found in the supra-renals". Incidentally, this old name for the modern "adrenal glands" featured in the description of Mackenzie [12]. He wrote thus: "Supra-renal capsules feel hard and gritty, and on section are full of firm, greyish-white bodies, about the size of a No. 5 shot and smaller". In like manner, Fagge [13] was precise as follows: "the supra-renals were much enlarged, and contained large masses, some of which were perfectly black".

There were no microscopical studies. However, it is notable that, whenever there was any doubt, appeal was made to the Morbid Growths Committee. I am persuaded that this went on. Indeed, as my historical review showed, the surgical pathology of cancer was advancing gradually [14].


It is clear that these descriptions were well documented. No doubt, they constitute what were known to the medical men of yester years. In other words, the old sketches constitute sufficient pointers to what was known prior to the progress being made on the current understanding of the pathology of melanoma [15]. In addition, they were missing in the evidence supplied in a previous extensive historical study [16].

  1. Onuigbo WI (1957) Some observations on the spread of lung cancer in the body. Br J Cancer 11: 175-180.

  2. Cappell DF (1951) Muir's Text-Book of Pathology. (6th edn), Arnold, London, 505.

  3. Onuigbo WIB (1961) Analytical studies on the topographical distribution of adrenal metastases in lung cancer. Ph.D Thesis, London University.

  4. Onuigbo WI (2010) Lymphangiogenesis may explain adrenal selectivity in lung cancer metastases. Med Hypotheses 75: 185-186.

  5. Anonymous Bye-Laws and Regulations. Trans Path Soc Lond 1: 15.

  6. Burnet FM (1977) Morphogenesis and cancer. Med J Aust 1: 5-9.

  7. Kesteven WH (1884) A case of multiple cerebral tumour. Trans Path Soc Lond 35: 24-26.

  8. Legg JW (1878) Melanotic sarcoma of the eyeball; secondary growths in the organs of the chest and belly, particularly in the liver. Trans Path Soc Lond 29: 225-229.

  9. Battle H (1895) Primary melanotic sarcoma of clitoris. Trans Path Soc Lond 46: 189.

  10. Calvert J, Pigg S (1898) A case of melanotic sarcoma. Trans Path Soc Lond 49: 297-299.

  11. Godlee RJ (1874) Melanotic sarcoma in the medulla oblongata secondary to a similar growth situated probably in a lymphatic gland. Trans Path Soc Lond 25: 18-23.

  12. Mackenzie J (1891) Melanotic sarcoma, very widely disseminated. Trans Path Soc Lond 42: 321-329.

  13. Fagge CH (1877) Two cases of melanuria associated with melanotic new growths. Trans Path Soc Lond 28: 172-175.

  14. Onuigbo WIB (2015) The surgical pathology of cancer: A historical review. J Cancer Prev Curr Res 2.

  15. Kuphal S, Bosserhoff A (2009) Recent progress in understanding the pathology of malignant melanoma. J Pathol 219: 400-409.

  16. Nordlund JJ, Abdel-Malek ZA, Boissy RE, Rheins LA (1989) Pigment cell biology: an historical review. J Invest Dermatol 92: 53S-60S.

International Journal of Anesthetics and Anesthesiology (ISSN: 2377-4630)
International Journal of Blood Research and Disorders   (ISSN: 2469-5696)
International Journal of Brain Disorders and Treatment (ISSN: 2469-5866)
International Journal of Cancer and Clinical Research (ISSN: 2378-3419)
International Journal of Clinical Cardiology (ISSN: 2469-5696)
Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Treatment (ISSN: 2469-584X)
Clinical Medical Reviews and Case Reports (ISSN: 2378-3656)
Journal of Dermatology Research and Therapy (ISSN: 2469-5750)
International Journal of Diabetes and Clinical Research (ISSN: 2377-3634)
Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention (ISSN: 2469-5793)
Journal of Genetics and Genome Research (ISSN: 2378-3648)
Journal of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology (ISSN: 2469-5858)
International Journal of Immunology and Immunotherapy (ISSN: 2378-3672)
International Journal of Medical Nano Research (ISSN: 2378-3664)
International Journal of Neurology and Neurotherapy (ISSN: 2378-3001)
International Archives of Nursing and Health Care (ISSN: 2469-5823)
International Journal of Ophthalmology and Clinical Research (ISSN: 2378-346X)
International Journal of Oral and Dental Health (ISSN: 2469-5734)
International Journal of Pathology and Clinical Research (ISSN: 2469-5807)
International Journal of Pediatric Research (ISSN: 2469-5769)
International Journal of Respiratory and Pulmonary Medicine (ISSN: 2378-3516)
Journal of Rheumatic Diseases and Treatment (ISSN: 2469-5726)
International Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine (ISSN: 2469-5718)
International Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy (ISSN: 2469-570X)
International Journal of Surgery Research and Practice (ISSN: 2378-3397)
Trauma Cases and Reviews (ISSN: 2469-5777)
International Archives of Urology and Complications (ISSN: 2469-5742)
International Journal of Virology and AIDS (ISSN: 2469-567X)
More Journals

Contact Us

ClinMed International Library | Science Resource Online LLC
3511 Silverside Road, Suite 105, Wilmington, DE 19810, USA


Get Email alerts
Creative Commons License
Open Access
by ClinMed International Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License based on a work at
Copyright © 2017 ClinMed International Library. All Rights Reserved.