What factors influence the outcome of head and neck mucosal melanomas?

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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Primary melanoma arising in the mucous membranes is an unusual clinical entity. The best likelihood for favorable outcome is early detection and excision. Currently, despite aggressive therapy, the prognosis for people with mucosal melanoma is extremely poor. Local treatment failure is a significant problem for most treated patients; however, patients with local treatment failure can be treated multiple times, resulting in prolongation of survival.

Distant metastases continue to be synonymous with rapid clinical deterioration and short survival time after detection. Surgery remains the mainstay of treatment, although adjuvant radiation therapy has had an increasing role in the treatment of mucosal melanoma. A clearer understanding of the biology of this disease process may yield more specific immunotherapy techniques. A multicenter prospective study is required to assess objectively the optimal treatment regimen.

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