Fast neutron radiotherapy for primary mucosal melanomas of the head and neck

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Background.Primary head and neck mucosal melanomas (HNMMs) are rare tumors managed with surgery and/or radiotherapy and associated with poor outcomes. Given their radioresistance, high linear energy transfer radiotherapy with neutrons may improve local control.Methods.We conducted a retrospective review of 14 patients with HNMM treated with neutrons at the University of Washington from 1990 to 2012. Five patients had T3 disease, 9 had T4 disease, 3 had regional nodal disease, and 4 had distant metastases at diagnosis. Primary sites were sinonasal (n=10), lip (n=2), and palate (n=2). Ten patients had initial surgical resection/debulking.Results.Nine patients had gross residual disease, 6 had complete response, and 3 had partial response. Local control was achieved in 79% until death or last follow-up, and 50% developed distant metastases. Kaplan–Meier 5-year local control was 66% and overall survival was 21%.Conclusion.High rates of locoregional control were achieved with neutrons, despite the presence of gross disease. Survival was limited by early distant metastases. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 36: 1162–1167, 2014

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