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March 1989

Desmoplastic Melanoma Histologic Correlation With Behavior and Treatment

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Beenken, Byers, and Goepfert), Pathology (Dr Smith), and Patient Studies (Dr Shallenberger), The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(3):374-379. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860270116025

• Desmoplastic (neurotrophic) melanoma is a histologic variant of cutaneous melanoma that has a distinct clinical behavior. To better understand this behavior and to treat the disease more effectively, the medical records of 16 patients treated for this disease over a 12-year period were reviewed. Thirteen patients had head and neck lesions, the ear being a common site. The average thickness of the lesions was 5.75 mm. Six (46.2%) of 13 patients had local recurrence of disease. Only two patients (15.4%) developed regional node metastases. None of the patients with clinically NO desmoplastic melanoma were found to have positive nodes after elective neck dissection, regardless of the thickness of the primary lesion. Wide excision of the primary lesion with frozen section control of surgical margins and careful examination for the presence of perineural invasion is important in determining the extent of surgical resection.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1989;115:374-379)