Jason J. Luke, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, discusses noncutaneous melanoma.
Luke says that the category of melanoma is commonly thought of as skin cancer, but that is not correct. Melanoma can occur in the uveal tract of the eye, and mucosal surfaces, such as the gynecologic and gastrointestinal tract. There is also acral melanoma, which can arise on pressure-dependent surfaces that are not exposed to the sun. These are melanomas that arise from melanocytes, which have a different biology from melanoma, Luke explains.
These noncutaneuos melanoma are a less common subset of melanoma. To date, Luke says that oncologists have been using drugs intended for cutaneous melanoma and applying them to noncutaneous melanoma, which has not yielded benefit. More focus needs to be put on developing drugs for this subset of patients, Luke adds.