Management of primary melanoma of the female urogenital tract

Lancet Oncol. 2008 Oct;9(10):973-81. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70254-7.


Primary melanoma of the urogenital tract in women is rare, but biologically aggressive. They usually affect elderly women and account for less than 10% of all cancer of the urogenital tract in women and less than 10% of all melanoma diagnosed in women. Tumours originate from melanocytes that are present in the urogenital mucosal epithelium of about 3% of women. Tumour staging can be challenging; however, the American Joint Committee on Cancer melanoma staging system has been recommended for use in vulvar and vaginal melanoma. Surgery is the treatment of choice; less-extensive surgery can be a sensible approach because satisfactory locoregional control might be obtained from wide local excision and radiotherapy, without the morbidity and disfigurement associated with radical surgery. Complete regional lymphadenectomy does not seem necessary if a sentinel lymph-node biopsy sample is negative; however, this decision should be made with caution. Various chemotherapy and biotherapy (ie, immunotherapy and biological-response modifiers) regimens have been used in advanced or metastatic melanoma. However, the role of chemotherapy for women with urogenital-tract melanoma has not been established, and biotherapy methods presented to date have been anecdotal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / drug therapy
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / pathology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / radiotherapy
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy
  • Melanoma / surgery*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Urologic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urologic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urologic Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Urologic Neoplasms / surgery*