Journal Scan

Novel treatment strategies needed in primary malignant melanoma of esophagus

Posted on

Treatment outcomes after radical resection in primary malignant melanoma of esophagus (PMME) are not always favorable, according to a study that suggested novel treatment strategies are needed to treat this rare disease with poor prognosis.

In this retrospective study, the survival outcomes of 17 patients with PMME over a median of 34 months follow-up were analyzed.

More than half of the patients (52.9%) presented with symptoms of dysphagia. Mass-forming tumors were found in 15 patients and diffusely infiltrative in 2 patients, while lesions were melanotic in 13 patients and amelanotic in 4 patients. Approximately 65% of patients had tumors in the lower esophagus. Four patients had metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis.

The median overall survival for all patients was 10 months. Of the 10 patients who underwent surgery, all experienced recurrence and the median disease-free survival was 4 months. No statistical difference in overall survival between patients who were surgically treated and patients who were not surgically treated was found.

Patients that had diffusely infiltrative tumor morphology had better overall survival compared to patients with mass-forming tumor morphology.

The authors noted that 2 patients received immunotherapy as the first-line treatment without surgery and had an overall survival of 34 and 18 months, respectively.

Kim TS, Min BH, Min YW, et al. Clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes of primary malignant melanoma of esophagus: a single center experience. BMC Gastroenterol. 2022;22(1):157. doi: 10.1186/s12876-022-02235-8. PMID: 35351022; PMCID: PMC8966180.