Diagnosing melanoma of the mouth

Diagnosing melanoma of the mouth

16 June 2017

Melanoma of the oral mucosa is fortunately rare but it has a poor survival rate and high morbidity. The mouth is very important for daily activities, like eating and talking, and, as well as having cosmetic importance, is highly sensitive to pain. Therefore, understanding when or where to biopsy, or how much tissue to excise, is very important.

Researchers at Melanoma Institute Australia recently demonstrated that reflectance confocal microscopy is a useful tool in the clinic to diagnose suspicious-looking lesions in the mouth and to help map surgical margins prior to surgery.

“This was preliminary work, but hopefully with technological improvements, and a larger numbers of patients being involved with the research, the applicability of confocal microscopy for improving patient care in those patients with lesions on the oral mucosa can be safely determined and advanced,” says lead author and MPhil student at Melanoma Institute Australia, Dr Nigel Maher.

Publication: Maher NG et al. In vivo reflectance confocal microscopy for evaluating melanoma of the lip and its differential diagnoses. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2017 Jan; 123(1):84-94