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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 246-248

Black bone marrow aspirate

1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Hematology-Oncology, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
3 Department of Hematopathology, Dr. Daneshbod Pathology Laboratory, Shiraz, Iran

Date of Web Publication12-Sep-2013

Correspondence Address:
H Mirfazaelian
Department of Emergency Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.118062

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How to cite this article:
Mirfazaelian H, Rezvani A, Daneshbod Y. Black bone marrow aspirate. J Postgrad Med 2013;59:246-8

How to cite this URL:
Mirfazaelian H, Rezvani A, Daneshbod Y. Black bone marrow aspirate. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Sep 24];59:246-8. Available from:


A 61-year-old man presented with anorexia and 2 weeks of abdominal pain. On physical examination, there was only mild right upper quadrant abdominal tenderness with no organomegaly. There was a past medical history of Hodgkin's disease (HD), mixed cellularity type (stage IV), which was on remission since 5 years ago after chemotherapy with unknown regimen without any radiation therapy.

The laboratory results were significant for only lactate dehydrogenase level, which was 1000 IU/L with mild normocytic anemia. On his abdominal computed tomography scan with intravenous contrast, there was a mildly enlarged liver with numerous enhancing and non-enhancing hypodense foci. The diagnosis of probable HD relapse with liver involvement was made. Liver biopsy and bone marrow aspiration and biopsy were undertaken. Interestingly, a dark tinged aspirate was obtained in bone marrow aspiration. The smears showed polymorphic population of normal hematopoietic cells with darkly pigmented cells [Figure 1]a and b. Bone marrow biopsy revealed polymorphic normocellular marrow with solitary and clusters of dark pigmented cells with prominent nucleoli [Figure 1]c. Iron stain carried out on smears and trephine biopsy was negative in the pigments, which proved the cells as non-Hemosiderin laden macrophages. Immunoperoxidase staining showed strong and diffuse positivity for S100 protein, Human Melanoma Black (HMB)-45, Melan-A, and negative for cytokeratin, epithelial membrane antigen, CD45, and CD30 which is characteristic for malignant melanoma. On liver biopsy, there was diffuse infiltration by large pigmented malignant cells with prominent eosinophilic nucleoli. After bleaching, the pigments disappeared, a finding in favor of melanin pigments. Immunoperoxidase proved that this tumor was also melanoma. A thorough search for finding the origin of this new malignancy was performed (including nasal, mucosal, and ophthalmologic examinations), which was futile.
Figure 1: (a and b) bone marrow smears show polymorphic population of normal hematopoietic cells with darkly pigmented malignant cells; (c) Bone marrow biopsy shows polymorphic normocellular marrow with clusters of dark pigmented cells with prominent nucleoli

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Malignant melanoma accounts for 1-3% of all malignancies with an increasing incidence being seen worldwide with lung most commonly involved in metastatic disease. [1] While epithelial tumors of the thyroid, breast, lung, kidney, and prostate commonly metastasize to the marrow, melanoma metastatic infiltration can be diagnosed in 5-7% of patients with disseminated disease (usually amelanotic). [2],[3],[4] Anemia is the most common hematologic manifestation followed by thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, and leukoerythroblastosis. These changes have been attributed to different causes such as bone marrow invasion, tumor mediators, and autoimmunity. [1] Although primary tumor is obvious most of the times, it might have regressed over the period of time in the index patient. While partial regression is a common feature, in about 5-15% of cases, metastatic melanoma is detected in the absence of an identifiable primary site. [1] In immunohistochemistry, melanin usually reacts with vimentin, S-100 protein, HMB-45 (more specific than S-100), melan-A, tyrosinase, and microphthalmia transcription factor. [1] Although HD can coincide with melanoma, radiotherapy is considered as one of risk factors for melanoma formation and its diagnosis after HD treatment has been reported previously. [5] This patient had not received radiotherapy in his regimen. So, it can be proposed that radiation is not the sole risk factor and one should also consider factors such as chemotherapy and genetic predisposition factor for this ominous event.

 :: References Top

1.Jain D, Singh T, Kumar N, Daga MK. Metastatic malignant melanoma in bone marrow with occult primary site: A case report with review of literature. Diagn Pathol 2007;2:38.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Villarrubia J, deMisa RF, Escribano L, Bellas C, Velasco JL. Amelanotic bone marrow infiltration secondary to pigmented malignant melanoma. J Dermatol 1995;22:620-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Wong KF. Metastatic melanoma. Br J Haematol 2006;134:554.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Batsis JA, Barry MJ. Metastatic malignant melanoma presenting with hypercalcaemia and bone marrow involvement. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2006;20:432-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Tucker MA, Misfeldt D, Coleman CN, Clark WH Jr, Rosenberg SA. Cutaneous malignant melanoma after Hodgkin's disease. Ann Intern Med 1985;102:37-41.  Back to cited text no. 5


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