Mucosal melanoma: pathogenesis, clinical behavior, and management

Curr Oncol Rep. 2012 Oct;14(5):441-8. doi: 10.1007/s11912-012-0244-x.


Mucosal melanoma represents a rare subtype of melanoma with distinct biological, clinical, and management considerations. Knowledge regarding optimal treatment strategies for mucosal melanoma is limited and based primarily upon small case series and single-institution, retrospective analyses. Surgery remains the standard of care for loco-regional management, but the common presence of multifocal disease and the high rate of distant recurrence should be considered before pursuing aggressive surgical interventions associated with inherent significant morbidity. The role of sentinel lymph node biopsy and lymph node dissection remains unclear. Radiotherapy has not been shown to improve overall survival but may reduce the rate of local recurrence. Significant advances in the treatment of metastatic disease have been made with novel immunotherapeutic agents, the discovery of KIT and BRAF mutations and the development of targeted agents that inhibit these oncogenic pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma* / epidemiology
  • Melanoma* / pathology
  • Melanoma* / therapy
  • Mucous Membrane
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Vaginal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Vaginal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Vaginal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / therapy