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Posted by on Sep 8, 2017 in Melanoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study examined factors associated with treatment and survival in patients with mucosal melanoma (cancer of the moist inner lining surfaces of the body). The study concluded that mucosal melanoma may have a poor prognosis due to late diagnosis. However, certain treatments may improve survival rates.

Some background

Mucosal melanoma is a rare cancer of the moist surfaces that line the inside of the body. This includes the head/neck, gut, lungs, and genitals. It has a poorer prognosis than skin melanoma. It is not clear whether this is due to late diagnosis or the aggressiveness of the cancer. Ways to predict prognosis are needed.

Methods & findings

The study looked at factors associated with prognosis and treatment in mucosal melanoma.

The study examined the records of 75 patients from the years 1993 – 2015. 32 patients had a melanoma (42.7%) in the head/neck area, 24 (32%) in the female genital area, and 19 (25.3%) at the end of the gut (anorectal region). The average age at first diagnosis was 66 years.

85% of patients had the mucosal melanoma completely removed with surgery. 57% had local lymph nodes removed due to cancer spread. 45% of patients received additional therapy after removal.

79% of patients who had complete removal of the tumor had a recurrence of the disease. The average time to recurrence was 14 months. The average overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause) was 32 months. The 5-year overall survival rate varied with location of the mucosal melanoma: female genital area (33.2%), head/neck region (22.0%), and anorectal region (10.6%).

Radiotherapy after removal reduced the rate of recurrence. An abnormality in the KIT gene  was found in 7 (11.3%) patients. Targeted therapies (treatments that target proteins involved with cancer growth) were shown to benefit in 4 of these patients.

Diagnosis before age 60 and diagnosis at stage 1 were associated improved survival and recurrence rates.

The bottom line

This study concluded that mucosal melanomas are often advanced at diagnosis. Factors such as location and stage of the disease, as well as age at diagnosis and genetics are associated with survival. Treatments such as radiotherapy and targeted therapies may improve recurrence and survival rates.

The fine print

They study notes that it is limited by the small number of patients. Therefore, targeted therapy standards could not be made. It is also limited due to the study design. It looked at mucosal melanoma patients in past years. A current, ongoing study may give a better idea of the factors of prognosis and survival.

What’s next?

Discuss with your doctor about your own factors and whether a targeted therapy would be suitable in your treatment.

Published By :


Date :

Jan 01, 2017

Original Title :

Clinics, prognosis and new therapeutic options in patients with mucosal melanoma: A retrospective analysis of 75 patients.

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