BACKGROUND: Mucosal melanoma (MM) is rare and has a poor prognosis. Since 2011, new effective treatments are available for advanced melanoma. It is unclear whether patients with mucosal melanoma equally benefit from these new treatments compared with patients with cutaneous melanoma (CM).
METHODS: Patients with advanced MM and CM diagnosed between 2013 and 2017 were included from a nationwide population-based registry - the Dutch Melanoma Treatment Registry. Overall survival (OS) was estimated with the Kaplan-Meier method (also for a propensity score-matched cohort). A Cox model was used to analyse the association of possible prognostic factors with OS.
RESULTS: In total, 120 patients with MM and 2960 patients with CM were included. Median OS was 8.7 months and 14.5 months, respectively. Patients with MM were older (median age 70 versus 65 years) and more often female (60% versus 41%), compared with CM. In total, 77% and 2% of the MM patients were treated with first-line immunotherapy and targeted therapy, respectively, compared with 49% and 33% of the CM patients. In contrast to CM, OS for MM did not improve for patients diagnosed in 2015-2017, compared with 2013-2014. ECOG performance score ≥1 (HR = 1.99 [1.26-3.15; p = 0.003]) and elevated LDH level (HR = 1.63 [0.96-2.76]; p = 0.069) in MM were associated with worse survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Within the era of immune and targeted therapies, prognosis for patients with advanced MM has not improved as much as for CM. Collaboration is necessary to enlarge sample size for research to improve immunotherapeutic strategies and identify targetable mutations.