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      Mucosal melanoma of the head and neck: a population-based study from Slovenia, 1985-2013


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          To assess the incidence and to review experience with the treatment of mucosal melanoma of the head and neck (MMHN) in Slovenia between 1985 and 2013.


          The National Cancer Registry database and clinical records with outcome data of identified patients treated during the period 1985–2013 in Slovenia were reviewed.


          In a 29-year period, 61 patients with MMHN were identified, representing 0.5 % of all head and neck malignant tumors and 42 % of all mucosal melanomas in Slovenia. 72 % originated in the sinonasal tract and were predominantly (78 %) diagnosed as a local disease. Regional metastases at diagnosis were more frequent in patients with oral/oropharyngeal primary (44 %; sinonasal MMHN 11 %, p = 0.006). Curative intent treatment was given to 48 (79 %) patients. The overall survival (OS) rates at 2 and 5 years for the whole cohort were 43 % and 18 %, respectively, and for the curative intent group 53 % and 24 %, respectively. In the latter group, multivariate analyses showed postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) to be predictive for locoregional control (LRC) (hazard ratios [HR] for surgery with PORT vs. surgery alone: 1.0 vs. 3.9, p = 0.037), whereas only the World Health Organization performance status (HR for grade 0 vs. grade 1 vs. grade >1: 1.0 ( p = 0.022) vs. 1.2 ( p = 0.640) vs. 7.7 ( p = 0.008)) significantly influenced OS.


          MMHN is a rare tumor with a poor prognosis. Combination of surgery and PORT offers the best prospects for LRC but without improvement of OS. Due to potential toxicity of high-dose RT such treatment is indicated in patients in whom LRC outweighs the risks of serious adverse effects.

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          Most cited references 32

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          The National Cancer Data Base report on cutaneous and noncutaneous melanoma: a summary of 84,836 cases from the past decade. The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the American Cancer Society.

          This study reviews the case-mix characteristics, management, and outcomes of melanoma cases occuring in the U.S. within the last decade. Analyses of the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) were performed on cases diagnosed between 1985 through 1994. A total of 84,836 cases comprised of cutaneous and noncutaneous melanomas were evaluated. The percentages of melanomas that were cutaneous, ocular, mucosal, and unknown primaries were 91.2%, 5.2%, 1.3%, and 2.2%, respectively. For cutaneous melanomas, the proportion of patients presenting with American Joint Committee on Cancer Stages 0, I, II, III, and IV were 14.9%, 47.7%, 23.1%, 8.9%, and 5.3%, respectively. Factors associated with decreased survival included more advanced stage at diagnosis, nodular or acral lentiginous histology, increased age, male gender, nonwhite race, and lower income. Multivariate analysis identified stage, histology, gender, age, and income as independent prognostic factors. For ocular melanomas, 85.0% were uveal, 4.8% were conjunctival, and 10.2% occurred at other sites. During the study period, there was a large increase in the proportion of ocular melanoma patients treated with radiation therapy alone. For mucosal melanomas, the distribution of head and neck, female genital tract, anal/rectal, and urinary tract sites was 55.4%, 18.0%, 23.8%, and 2.8%, respectively. Patients with lymph node involvement had a poor prognosis. For unknown primary melanomas, the distribution of metastases as localized to a region or multiple sites at presentation was 43.0% and 57.0%, respectively. Surgical treatment of patients with unknown primary site of the melanoma resulted in better survival compared with no treatment. Treatment of early stage cutaneous melanoma resulted in excellent patient outcomes. In addition to conventional prognostic factors, socioeconomic factors were found to be associated with survival.
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            Sinonasal tract and nasopharyngeal melanomas: a clinicopathologic study of 115 cases with a proposed staging system.

            Primary sinonasal tract mucosal malignant melanomas are uncommon tumors that are frequently misclassified, resulting in inappropriate clinical management. A total of 115 cases of sinonasal tract mucosal malignant melanoma included 59 females and 56 males, 13-93 years of age (mean 64.3 years). Patients presented most frequently with epistaxis (n = 52), mass (n = 42), and/or nasal obstruction (n = 34) present for a mean of 8.2 months. The majority of tumors involved the nasal cavity (n = 34), septum alone, or a combination of the nasal cavity and sinuses (n = 39) with a mean size of 2.4 cm. Histologically, the tumors were composed of a variety of cell types (epithelioid, spindled, undifferentiated), frequently arranged in a peritheliomatous distribution (n = 39). Immunohistochemical studies confirmed the diagnosis of sinonasal tract mucosal malignant melanomas with positive reactions for S-100 protein, tyrosinase, HMB-45, melan A, and microphthalmia transcription factor. Sinonasal tract mucosal malignant melanomas need to be considered in the differential diagnosis of most sinonasal malignancies, particularly carcinoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, and olfactory neuroblastoma. Surgery accompanied by radiation and/or chemotherapy was generally used. The majority of patients developed a recurrence (n = 79), with 75 patients dying with disseminated disease (mean 2.3 years), whereas 40 patients are either alive or had died of unrelated causes (mean 13.9 years). A TNM-type classification separated by anatomic site of involvement and metastatic disease is proposed to predict biologic behavior.
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              Mucosal melanoma: pathogenesis, clinical behavior, and management.

              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.

                Author and article information

                +386 1 5879 290 , pstrojan@onko-i.si
                Radiat Oncol
                Radiat Oncol
                Radiation Oncology (London, England)
                BioMed Central (London )
                14 October 2016
                14 October 2016
                : 11
                [1 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Ljubljana, Slovenia
                [2 ]University Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Cervicofacial Surgery, University Clinical Center, Ljubljana, Slovenia
                [3 ]Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Cervical and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Clinical Center, Maribor, Slovenia
                [4 ]Department of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, University Clinical Center, Ljubljana, Slovenia
                [5 ]Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                © The Author(s) 2016

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                mucosal melanoma, head and neck cancer, epidemiology, therapy, survival


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