South African Dental Journal
On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516
Oral mucosal melanoma is an extremely rare, aggressive malignancy that is noticeably distinct from its cutaneous counterpart by its heterogeneity in clinical course, histopathological features and prognosis. There is limited knowledge on the aetiopathogenesis of oral mucosal melanomas, however, recent studies have been focused towards molecular and genetic studies. Studies on cytogenetic alterations (loss of heterozygosity) and familial patterns of inheritance have been investigated, and these differ genetically from cutaneous melanomas. A possible association between the oral mucosal melanoma and Diabetes Mellitus has been alluded to. Most clinicians and researchers believe that oral mucosal melanomas arise de novo, and less frequently from a precursor benign melanocytic lesion, unlike their cutaneous counterparts which are believed to arise due to chronic sun exposure. Oral mucosal melanomas may present with a heterogeneous range of macroscopic and microscopic features that can make the clinical and histopathological diagnosis and interpretation difficult.
Keywords : Oral malignant melanoma; Invasive malignant melanoma; Oral cancer.