How is oral malignant melanoma treated?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Elizabeth Ann Bilodeau, DMD, MD, MSEd; Chief Editor: Jeff Burgess, DDS, MSD  more...
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Aggressive surgery remains the treatment of choice. Medical therapy is not often beneficial for treating oral melanoma. Chemotherapeutic medications for the treatment of oral melanoma do not reliably reduce tumor volume. Interferon, dacarbazine, and Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine have been tried with marginal and unpredictable results. Protocols with interferon (IFN) (Intron A) and other immunotherapies are common.

Multimodal therapy offers the best likelihood of relapse-free survival compared with any single therapy. Kirkwood et al [15]  showed that surgery followed by high-dose IFN-alfa-2b in high-risk, cutaneous melanoma appears to be more beneficial than surgery followed by melanoma antigen vaccination. Although not evaluated in mucosal sites, these approaches may provide valuable adjuncts to the treatment of oral mucosal melanoma. Note that INF-A use is associated with malaise, flulike symptoms, fever, and myalgia.

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