Mucosal melanoma: A clinically and biologically unique disease entity

Richard D. Carvajal, Sharon A. Spencer, William Lydiatt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mucosal melanoma (MM) is an aggressive and clinically complex malignancy made more challenging by its relative rarity. Because of the rarity of MM as a whole, and because of the unique biology and clinical challenges of MM arising from each anatomic location, understanding of this disease and its optimal management remains limited. The impact of various treatment strategies on disease control and survival has been difficult to assess because of the small size of most reported series of MM arising from any one particular site, the retrospective nature of most series, and the lack of a uniform comprehensive staging system for this disease. This article summarizes the clinical, pathologic, and molecular features, and the diagnostic and therapeutic considerations for the management of MM, underscoring the similarities and differences from cutaneous melanoma. Furthermore, the distinct clinical features and management implications unique to melanoma arising from the mucosal surfaces of the head and neck, the anorectal region, and the female genital tract are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-356
Number of pages12
JournalJNCCN Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

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Keywords

  • Anorectal melanoma
  • KIT
  • Melanoma of the head and neck
  • Mucosal melanoma
  • Vulvovaginal melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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