Mucosal melanoma of the head and neck: recurrence characteristics and survival outcomes

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2015 Nov;120(5):575-80. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2015.06.038. Epub 2015 Jul 6.


Objective: The aim of this study was to review oncologic outcomes and recurrence characteristics of head and neck mucosal melanomas (HNMMs) managed at a tertiary referral center.

Study design: Clinical records of 10 patients who were managed for HNMMs between 2001 and 2013 were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: The median age was 66 years (range 28-76 years) and male/female (M/F) ratio was 1:5. The 3-year disease-free survival (DFS) rates and overall survival (OS) rates were 11.7% and 35%, respectively; and the 5-year DFS rates and OS rates 11.7% and 23.3%, respectively. The median DFS and OS periods were 12 months (range 2-36 months) and 17 months (range 7-96 months), respectively. The rates of development of local, regional, and systemic recurrences were 20%, 50%, and 80%, respectively. Lungs were involved in all patients who had distant metastasis.

Conclusions: This study shows that HNMMs has a very aggressive course and that distant metastases are common. For this reason, systemic control of the disease is an important aim of treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / mortality
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate