Endoscopic and pathologic findings associated with clinical outcomes of melanoma in the upper gastrointestinal tract

Ji Yong Ahn, Hee Sang Hwang, Young Soo Park, Hyeong Ryul Kim, Hwoon Yong Jung, Jin Ho Kim, Seung Eun Lee, Min A. Kim

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9 Scopus citations


Background. Melanoma that involves the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract is rare and studies relating to endoscopic and pathologic findings with clinical outcomes are lacking. We reviewed the gross and microscopic patterns of the upper GI tract in primary and metastatic melanoma, and examined their association with clinical outcomes. Methods. Twenty-nine cases of primary esophageal (n = 19) and metastatic gastric and/or duodenal melanoma (n = 10) that were detected during upper GI endoscopy between 1995 and 2011 were retrospectively analyzed. Results. Three types of gross patterns were recognized-nodular pattern in 7 cases, mass-forming pattern in 18 cases, and flat pigmented pattern in 4 cases. In primary esophageal melanoma, 13 patients (68.4 %) underwent surgery and 9 received palliative therapy. Of all cases, 22 patients (75.9 %) died of disease progression; the median overall survival period was 12 months (interquartile range [IQR] 4.5-24.5 months), and from recognition of upper GI tract melanoma the median overall survival period was 9 months (IQR 3.5-17.0 months). In primary esophageal cases, skin melanoma stage better discriminated the patients with good prognosis than the esophageal cancer stage. The flat pigmented gross pattern proved to be a good prognostic factor in primary and metastatic GI tract melanomas (p = 0.016 and p = 0.046, respectively). Conclusions. Melanoma of the GI tract is a highly aggressive disease with a poor prognosis, both in primary and metastatic cases. However, in primary esophageal melanoma, careful inspection of the mucosa during endoscopic examination followed by surgical resection may result in extended survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2532-2539
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

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