A 65-year old male with presents with pain in his left groin. He has a history of skin melanoma on his left foot treated with surgical resection and radiotherapy. On examination, he is cachexic with a hard, enlarged liver and has a discharging sinus in the left groin surrounded by black nodules. He is admitted and dies from a hospital-acquired pneumonia.
The specimen is the patient's proximal right femur sawn longitudinally to display the cut surface. The medullary cavity contains many deposits of tumor tissue varying in color from a pale brown to black. Cancellous bone has been completely destroyed by the larger deposits, which appear dark and measure up to 3 cm in maximum diameter. Elsewhere pale brown tumor infiltrates the marrow cavity diffusely. Cortical bone has been spared, although at the junction of the shaft and neck, medially the cortical bone is discolored and thickened. These are metastatic deposits from a melanoma of the skin.
Melanoma is a malignant skin cancer associated with exposure to UV radiation in sunlight or tanning beds. Other risk factors for developing melanoma include fair complexion, presence of large number of melanocytic naevi, severe sunburn as a child and immunosuppression. It accounts for around 5% of all skin cancer diagnosis but has the highest mortality rate of all skin cancers. Melanomas typically occur in sun exposed areas as a pigmented lesion with irregular borders, variegated color, an asymmetrical shape and which evolves of time. There are multiple mutations common in melanoma. Loss of cell cycle control gene from mutation in CDKN2A gene. Mutations in pro-growth signaling pathways such as BRAF and PI3K mutations are seen frequently in melanomas, as well as mutations that activate telomerase such as the TERT gene. Recognition that melanoma antigens activate host immune responses has led to promising immunotherapy, which enhances host T-cell identifying of these antigens.
The most common sites for metastasis of malignant melanoma are the lungs, liver, brain and bone as well as regional lymph nodes. Bone metastases are found in 25-50% of metastatic melanoma. The axial skeleton is more frequently affected by metastatic melanoma spread. These metastatic deposits cause pain and even pathological fractures. The probability of metastatic spread depends on the stage of the primary tumor, which is based on tumor depth, mitotic activity and ulceration of the skin as well as node and solid organ involvement.
Diagnosis of melanoma is made with excisional biopsy. Investigation for bone metastasis is done using blood test (raised Alkaline phosphatase, calcium and LDH) and radiological investigations most commonly X-ray and CT but MRI and PET scan may also be used. Treatment depends on the stage or the tumor as well as the immune profile of the melanoma. Treatment usually involves surgical resection, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy or more commonly a combination of treatments.
- Anatomically accurate and identical to real specimen
- No ethical issues - not real human body parts
- Reasonably priced
- Available within a short lead time
- Reproducible, several identical prints can be used as a classroom set
- Can be produced in different sizes to cater for the needs of the teacher
- Access to cadavers can be problematic. Many countries cannot access cadavers for cultural and religious reasons
- Cadavers cost a lot money
- High cost for establishing your own plastination suite
- Wet specimens cannot be used in uncertified labs
- Dissection of cadavers is a lot of staff time and that is a cost
- Storage of cadaver material needs special refrigeration etc. which has coast
- If you want another specimen you have to start all over again
- Ethical issues
- Timeframe for plastination process
- Many countries do not allow their importation
- One of a kind
Superior 3D print results compared with conventional methods
- Vibrant color offering with 10 million colors
- UV-curable inkjet printing
- High quality 3D printing that can create products that are delicate, extremely precise and incredibly realistic
Clear Support Material
- To avoid breakage of fragile, thin, and delicate arteries, veins or vessels, a clear support material is printed on such spots. This makes the models robust and can be handled by students easily.