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Mucosal melanomas in the elderly: challenging cases and review of the literature

Authors Baderca F, Vincze D, Balica N, Solovan C

Received 19 March 2014

Accepted for publication 3 April 2014

Published 12 June 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 929—937


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Flavia Baderca,1,2 Dana Vincze,3 Nicolae Balica,4 Caius Solovan5,6

1Department of Microscopic Morphology, Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania; 2Service of Pathology, Emergency City Hospital, Timisoara, Romania; 3Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania; 4Otolaryngology Department, 5Department of Dermatology, Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania; 6Department of Dermatology, Emergency City Hospital, Timisoara, Romania

Abstract: Melanomas are malignant tumors that originate from melanocytes. They are most frequently localized in the skin, but 5% of all melanomas interest also extracutaneous sites as mucosal surfaces, parenchymatous organs, the retroperitoneum area, and the ocular ball. The purpose of this study was to investigate the epidemiologic and morphologic data of mucosal melanomas diagnosed at Emergency City Hospital (Timisoara, Romania) during a period of 12 years. The study included 17 cases of extracutaneous, extraocular melanomas, with 16 primary melanomas and one secondary melanoma. All our patients were older than 53 years and were mostly men. Most of the patients presented with localized disease; only one case had regional lymph node metastases, and another one had systemic metastases at the time of diagnosis. Regarding localization, nine of 16 melanomas were in the head and neck region, six were diagnosed in the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts (three cases each), and one case had a rare localization (retroperitoneum). The most common histologic type was represented by epithelioid cells, and the majority of the tumors were achromic. Mucosal melanoma is a tumor associated with aging, all our patients being older than 53 years. Because of unspecific symptoms and low incidence, the diagnosis is often delayed and requires teamwork among the clinician, pathologist, radiologist, and oncologist. Different genetic fingerprints impose a correct diagnosis to offer the patient the best novel, personalized therapy.

Keywords: mucosal melanoma, melanocytes, molecular classification, kit gene mutations, immunohistochemistry

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