The aim of this study was to identify patients with malignant hand lesions, establish the proportions of those that were metastases and review their clinical course.METHODS
A retrospective search of a prospective tumour database was carried out to identify all patients treated at our unit with hand metastases. Patient demographics were recorded including site of primary malignancy, region of the hand involved, management of their metastasis and clinical outcome.RESULTS
Overall, 149 patients were identified with a malignant tumour of the hand. Ten had a metastatic lesion. There were 3 women and 7 men with a median age of 68 years (range: 28-91 years) at presentation. All presented with non-mechanical hand pain while four had pain and swelling. The median interval from symptom onset to diagnosis was eight weeks. The minimum follow-up duration was four months.RESULTS
Three patients had no history of malignancy. Of the remaining seven patients, three had other known metastases. Six patients underwent solely palliative radiotherapy. Three patients had amputation. One was treated with surgical excision and radiotherapy. One had an amputation and axillary node clearance.RESULTS
All but one patient had died by the time of the latest follow-up appointment. The median time to death following identification of acrometastases was 18 months. Sites of primary disease were skin (n=4), lung (n=3), kidney (n=2) and neuroendocrine system (n=1). The thumb was the most commonly affected location.CONCLUSIONS
This study demonstrates that patients presenting with non-mechanical hand pain should be considered to have a malignant process until proved otherwise, particularly in patients with thumb symptoms and a history of prior malignancy.