Malignant melanoma of soft parts involving the head and neck region: Review of literature and case report

M. John Hicks, Victor A. Saldivar, Murali Chintagumpala, Marc E. Horowitz, Linda D. Cooley, James P. Barrish, Edith P. Hawkins, Claire Langston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Malignant melanoma of soft parts (MMSP) was originally described as a distinct entity by Enzinger in 1965 and was termed 'clear cell sarcoma of tendons and aponeuroses' because of its association with tenosynovial structures. It has been shown immunophenotypically and ultrastructurally that this tumor is derived from neuroectoderm and shares a number of features with cutaneous melanoma. Over 95% of MMSPs present in the extremities, with the head and neck region (1.9%) being an unusual site. This study presents an additional case of MMSP of the head and neck region involving the posterior cervical region in a 15-year-old Hispanic mate and reviews the literature on MMSP. Ultrastructural examination showed rudimentary cell attachments, smooth cell membranes, discontinuous basal lamina, scanty glycogen, and occasional premelanosomes in some tumor cells. Cytogenetic analysis showed a reciprocal translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 12 and 22 [t(12:22)(q13;q12.2)], characteristic for MMSP and not seen in cutaneous melanoma. Survival in MMSP has been correlated with tumor size, tumor necrosis, and ploidy status. Overall reported clinical outcome for this tumor is as follows: died of disease, 45%; alive with disease, 23%; no evidence of disease, 30%; and died of other causes, 2%. MMSP represents a distinct entity with a characteristic ultrastructural appearance and a tumor defining cytogenetic translocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995


  • Clear cell sarcoma
  • Cytogenetics
  • Head
  • Malignant melanoma of soft parts
  • Neck
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Instrumentation


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