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May 1979

Vitiligo and Melanoma

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn

Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(5):636. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010050060026

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To the Editor.—  Dr David Paslin is correct when he states in his letter in the October Archives (114:1551, 1978) that he missed our point on the relationship between vitiligo and melanomas. Patients with melanomas and metastases to the skin, lymph nodes, or internal organs have a life expectancy of a few years. Vitiligo develops in some of these patients. Those patients with metastatic melanomas in whom vitiligo develops live for many years or, in a few instances, for several decades. In patients with vitiligo there is destruction of normal pigment cells in the skin or the eyes. It is our hypothesis that those factors that cause vitiligo may also destroy malignant pigment cells or at least retard their growth. If our hypothesis is correct, patients who have vitiligo in association with their melanomas would be expected to survive for longer periods of time or might even be cured of

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