How does the prognosis of head and neck mucosal melanomas vary by disease stage?

Updated: May 07, 2020
  • Author: Neeraj N Mathur, MBBS, MS, DNB(ENT), MNAMS, FAMS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Studies have shown that patients who present with regional disease have no worse survival than those who present with local disease only. The only clinical finding that appears to have definitive prognostic significance is the presence of distant metastasis at the time of diagnosis.

Temam et al reported that 68% patients developed distant metastasis soon after the end of the treatment even though local control was achieved in 44% of these patients. [17] Because wide surgical margins are often mutilating, this high rate of early distant metastasis underscores the need to detect lung, liver, and bone metastases before surgery is performed. Goerres et al showed that positron emission tomography (PET) and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) imaging may be suitable for the staging and/or restaging of these patients. [26]

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