Malignant melanoma of the head and neck: Clinical and immunological considerations

O. Merimsky*, P. Fishman, I. Feldman, R. Shafir, Y. Rapaport, Y. Sheonfeld, S. Chaitchik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prolonged exposure to sun for long periods during most of the year has led to an increase in the frequency of malignant melanoma in Israel, especially for head and neck (H and N) melanoma. H and N melanoma is found in males more than in females and diagnosed when already locally advanced. The disease-free interval between treatment of the primary lesion and recurrence of the disease correlated with the patient's age and the depth of invasion according to Breslow. A higher recurrence rate correlated with male gender, location in the scalp, and the stage of the disease. Metastatic disease involved the lungs, liver, and brain and responded poorly to systemic therapy. Improved survival was related to female gender, early stage of the disease, low Breslow thickness, and location of the primary lesion elsewhere than the scalp. Immunologically, we found that the titers of antimelanoma antibodies in patients with metastatic disease originating in the area of the head and neck were higher than the titer in disease-free H and N melanoma patients (p = 0.05). Moreover, patients with metastatic H and N melanoma had a higher titer of antityrosinase antibodies compared with healthy subjects. These two types of antibodies might be used as markers for disease progression in H and N melanoma. The more aggressive character of H and N melanoma was not reflected by different titers of antimelanoma antibodies nor by antityrosinase antibodies in patients with H and N versus non-H and N melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-367
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Anti-tyrosinase antibodies
  • Antimelanoma antibodies
  • Head and neck
  • Melanoma


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