Mucosal melanoma of the head and neck (staging)

Last revised by Daniel MacManus on 16 Jul 2023

Mucosal melanoma of the head and neck staging refers to TNM staging of mucosal melanoma involving the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, oral cavity, and, less commonly, pharynx and larynx. The system is distinct from staging of carcinomas of those sites and of cutaneous melanoma. The following article reflects the 8th edition manual published by the American Joint Committee on Cancer, which is used for staging starting January 1, 2018 1,2.

T1 and T2 categories are omitted due to the poor prognosis of even small and superficial lesions.

  • NX: regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed

  • N0: no regional lymph node metastases

  • N1: regional lymph node metastases present

The terms pM0 and MX are not valid TNM categories. The following categories may be used:

  • cM0: no evidence of metastases

  • cM1: distant metastasis

  • pM1: distant metastasis, microscopically confirmed

  • stage III

    • T3, N0, M0

  • stage IVA

    • T4a, N0, M0

    • [T3, T4a], N1, M0

  • stage IVB

    • T4b, [Any N], M0

  • stage IVC

    • [Any T], [Any N], M1

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