The natural history and patterns of metastases from mucosal melanoma: An analysis of 706 prospectively-followed patients

B. Lian, C. L. Cui, L. Zhou, X. Song, X. S. Zhang, D. Wu, L. Si, Z. H. Chi, X. N. Sheng, L. L. Mao, X. Wang, B. X. Tang, X. Q. Yan, Y. Kong, J. Dai, S. M. Li, X. Bai, N. Zheng, C. M. Balch, J. Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: We examined whether mucosal melanomas are different in their clinical course and patterns of metastases when arising from different anatomic sites. Our hypothesis was that metastatic behavior would differ from primary mucosal melanomas at different anatomical sites. Patients and methods: Clinical and pathological data from 706 patients were compared for their stage distribution, patterns of metastases, CKIT/BRAF mutation status, and overall survival for different anatomical sites. Results: The anatomic sites of the primary mucosal melanomas were from the lower GI tract (26.5%), nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses (23%), gynecological sites (22.5%), oral cavity (15%), urological sites (5%), upper GI tract (5%), and other sites (3.0%). At initial diagnosis, 14.5% were stage I disease, 41% Stage II, 21.5% Stage III, and 23.0% stage IV. Predominant metastatic sites were regional lymph nodes (21.5%), lung (21%), liver (18.5%), and distant nodes (9%). Oral cavity mucosal melanoma had a higher incidence of regional nodal metastases (31.7% versus 19.8%, P=0.009), and a higher incidence of lung metastases (32.5% versus 18.5%, P=0.007) compared to other primary mucosal melanomas. There was a 10% incidence of CKIT mutation and 12% BRAF mutation. Mucosalmelanomas from nasal pharyngeal and oral, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and urological had a similar survival with a 1-year survival rate (88%, 83%, 86%), 2-year survival rate (66%, 57%, 61%), 5-year survival rate (27%, 16%, 20%), respectively. Conclusions: The largest sample size allows, for the first time, a comparison of primary melanoma stage and patterns of metastases across anatomical sites. With few exceptions, the presenting stages, incidence of nodal and distant metastases, the site of predilection of distant metastases, or overall survival were similar despite different primary anatomic sites. These findings suggest that clinical trials involving mucosal melanomas and the administration of systemic therapy can be applied equally to mucosal melanomas regardless of their primary anatomic site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-873
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Mucosal melanoma
  • Natural history
  • Overall survival
  • Patterns of metastases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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