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Background: Head and neck melanomas (HNMs) have been associated with prognostic factors different from those on other locations.
Objective: The goal of the present study was to compare the demographic and clinical characteristics and the outcomes of surgical treatment between patients with HNM and those with trunk and extremity melanoma (TEM).
Material and methods: The clinical records of patients undergoing surgery for melanoma between October 2014 and April 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. Fifteen patients (22.3%) had HNM and 52 (77.7) presented TEM.
Results: There were no differences in age between both groups (63.8 ± 21.1 versus 58.5 ± 16), but there was a trend toward higher percentage of men in the HNM group (80% versus 61.3%). Patients with HNM had lower tumor thickness than those with TEM (2.07 versus 5.5 mm), higher incidence of melanoma in situ [5 (33.3%) versus 8 (15.3%)]; lymph node resection was more common (33% versus 25%) as well as reconstruction of the primary defect with local and musculocutaneous flaps. During follow-up, two patients in the HNM group developed local recurrences that were excised and three presented distant metastases in the lung, small bowel and abdomen and finally died due to the disease. In the TEM group, one patient had local recurrence and five died due to systemic metastases. The sample size was not sufficient to assess statistically significant differences.
Conclusion: Head and neck melanomas occur in a wide age range and stages and has some clinical differences with TEM.