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April 1977

Should Vitiligo Be Induced in Patients After Resection of Primary Melanoma?

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(4):421. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640040029001

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The incidence of vitiligo is particularly high in patients who have melanomas. Indeed, one has the impression that the frequency of vitiligo increases with a prolongation of the interval between the excision of a primary melanoma and the appearance of metastatic lesions. This statement implies that vitiligo presages for the host either a prolonged remission free from the melanoma or a vigorous resistance and survival longer than expected for those without vitiligo even after metastases are found. Occasionally, patients develop vitiligo many years after the original surgical excision of a melanoma. In these patients metastases may accompany the developing leukoderma. However, the association does not negate the general principle that patients with vitiligo associated with melanomas live longer and handle their melanoma better than those with melanomas without loss of skin color.

Observations on pigs, horses, and human beings suggest that induction of vitiligo early in the course of the

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