melanocytic lesions of the central nervous system

melanocytic lesions of the central nervous system

A number of pathological entities affecting the central nervous system contain melanin. They can be divided into primary and secondary melanocytic lesions.


Primary melanocytic lesions arise from melanin-containing neural crest cells which are located in the leptomeninges.  They include :

In addition to these primary lesions which arise from melanin-containing cells, a number of other tumors of the CNS can rarely contain melanin. These include :

  • melanotic meningioma
  • melanotic schwannoma
  • melanotic medulloblastoma
  • melanotic differentiation of low-grade gliomas
  • craniopharyngiomas may rarely contain melanin
  • melanotic differentiation of a gliosarcoma (single case report )


Secondary melanocytic lesions are far more common and represent metastatic malignant melanoma.

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