Author(s): H A Archer
Primary malignant melanoma of the esophagus is a rare disease, with only 200 cases being reported since this condition became an established clinical entity in 1963. This tumor, which accounts for only 0.1–0.2% of all esophageal neoplasms, is typically aggressive and disseminates early via the bloodstream and lymphatics, with only some 30% of patients surviving > 1 year after diagnosis. Management of patients with esophageal melanomata is unsatisfactory, as most tumors are advanced at diagnosis, and therapeutic options are limited by inaccessibility and early dissemination of the neoplasms. Poor survival rates reflect the inoperability of many tumors and the ineffectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy in eradicating advanced tumors and metastases. We present two patients with primary melanoma of the esophagus and discuss the treatment options currently available.