Oral Amelanotic Melanoma: A Systematic Review of Case Reports and Case Series

Head Neck Pathol. 2022 Jun;16(2):513-524. doi: 10.1007/s12105-021-01366-w. Epub 2021 Jul 26.


Oral amelanotic melanoma (OAM) is a rare, non-pigmented mucosal neoplasm representing less than 2% of all melanoma. The present study analyses the available data on OAM and describes its clinicopathological features, identifying potential prognostic factors. Online electronic databases such as PubMed-Medline, Embase, and Scopus were searched using appropriate keywords from the earliest available date till 31st March 2021 without restriction on language. Additional sources like Google Scholar, major journals, unpublished studies, conference proceedings, and cross-references were explored. 37 publications were included for quantitative synthesis, comprising 55 cases. The mean age of the patients was 59.56 years, and the lesions were more prevalent in males than in females. OAM's were most prevalent in the maxilla (67.2%) with ulceration, pinkish-red color, nodular mass, and pain. 2 patients (3.36%) were alive at their last follow-up, and 25 were dead (45.4%). Univariate survival analysis of clinical variables revealed that age older than 68 years (p = 0.003), mandibular gingiva (p = 0.007), round cells (p = 0.004), and surgical excision along with chemotherapy & radiation therapy (p = 0.001) were significantly associated with a lower survival rate. Oral Amelanotic Melanoma is a neoplasm with a poor prognosis, presenting a 6.25% possibility of survival after 5 years. Patients older than 68 years, lesions in the mandibular gingiva, round cells, and surgical excision along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, presented the worst prognosis. However, they did not represent independent prognostic determinants for these patients.

Keywords: Amelanotic; Immunohistochemistry; Melanoma; Mucosal melanoma; Oral amelanotic melanoma; Oral cavity; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma
  • Melanoma, Amelanotic* / pathology
  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Survival Rate