Melanoma cell migration along the outside of vessels has been termed "extravascular migratory metastasis" (EVMM), as distinct from intravascular dissemination. Previous studies in both human and experimental melanoma models have shown angiotropism of melanoma cells, suggesting EVMM. Our objectives are to study the mechanism of dissemination of human melanoma cells in the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) and to compare the histopathology in the CAM with that of patients with in transit and other cutaneous melanoma metastases.Human and murine melanoma cells were inoculated onto the CAM and observed over a 10-day period for tumor dissemination. Both human melanoma specimens from 26 patients and melanoma cells growing on the CAM showed the presence of tumor cell angiotropism at the invasive front of the tumor and at some distance from the tumor mass. In addition, a clear progression of melanoma cells spreading on the CAM was observed along the abluminal surface of vessels, where they occupied a perivascular location. By day 10 after injection, small micrometastases had developed along vessels, in a pattern similar to that in transit and other cutaneous melanoma metastases. In addition, the results suggested that the number of micrometastases directly correlated with increasing tumor volume. Taken together, these data suggest that the CAM is a relevant model for studying tumor cell dissemination, and that EVMM may be a mechanism by which some melanoma cells spread to nearby and even distant sites. Copyright © 2006 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.