Mucosal melanoma of the head and neck

Paolo Antonio Ascierto, Remo Accorona, Gerardo Botti, Davide Farina, Piero Fossati, Gemma Gatta, Helen Gogas, Davide Lombardi, Roberto Maroldi, Piero Nicolai, Marco Ravanelli, Vito Vanella

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Mucosal melanoma of the head and neck is a very rare and aggressive malignancy with a very poor prognosis. The nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, and oral cavity are the most common locations. One-, 3- and 5-year survival rates between 2000 and 2007 were 63%, 30% and 20%, respectively. Cigarette smoking seems to be a risk factor even though the evidence for this is very low. Clinical signs and symptoms are usually nonspecific. While surgery is considered the mainstay of treatment for most mucosal melanomas of the head and neck region, radiotherapy has a role in local control of the disease after surgery. Many new treatment options in the last years, in particular targeted therapies (i.e. inhibitors of c-KIT, NRAS/MEK or BRAF) and immunotherapies (anti CTLA-4 and anti PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies), have changed the history of cutaneous melanoma. Despite the different biology, mucosal melanoma is currently treated in the same way as cutaneous melanoma; however, patients with mucosal melanoma were excluded from the majority of recent clinical trials. Recent molecular findings offer new hope for the development of more effective systemic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-152
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Volume112
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017

Keywords

  • anti PD-1/PD-L1
  • c-KIT immunotherapies
  • Head and neck
  • Mucosal melanoma
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Targeted therapies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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