Mucosal Melanoma Treatment
Treatment for mucosal melanoma is not always entirely clear. Treatment will depend on the size, type and location of the tumor. Do your best to find a treatment team who has experience treating mucosal melanoma. View the MRF’s Treatment Center Finder tool to help get you started.
It is important to learn about all possible treatment options, discuss them with your treatment team and decide on what is best for you. Surgery is a common treatment option for a primary mucosal melanoma tumor. Additional options may include FDA approved immunotherapies like ipilimumab and pembrolizumab, as well as clinical trials, which may include combinations of approved and not-yet approved therapies.
Clinical practice within MM is far from standardized and this patient community experiences unique treatment challenges. In late 2022, the MRF convened its inaugural meeting between MM investigators and patients/ caregivers to identify current clinical challenges, discuss past/ present/ future clinical trials, learn about basic/ translational scientific efforts, and increase national and international collaborations among the MM community. To learn more, please read a recently published white paper in Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research.
Genetic Mutations in Mucosal Melanoma
Melanoma is typically classified by clinical characteristics, such as depth, ulceration and site of origin. However, in the past several years, mutations in certain proteins are allowing scientists to further define the melanoma at the molecular level. The most common mutation in mucosal melanoma is found in a protein called KIT. The changes in the KIT protein play an important role in tumor growth and the development of possible treatment options. Some mucosal melanoma patients who have tumors with KIT mutations have had success using imatinib (Gleevec). Imatinib is not FDA approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma but is available in some clinical trials.
The BRAF mutation, found in about half of all cutaneous melanoma cases, is rarely found in mucosal melanoma.
Research in Mucosal Melanoma
The MRF continues to fund the best, most promising research submitted to us, including research on rare subtypes of melanoma – like mucosal and ocular melanoma. Be sure to read about all of our funded researchers, including those awards specific to mucosal melanoma, here!