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Rhinology. 2013 Mar;51(1):22-30. doi: 10.4193/Rhino12.075.

Primary sinonasal malignant melanoma: a nationwide study of the Swedish population, 1960-2000.

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  • 1Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



To establish population-based trends for sinonasal mucosal melanoma (SNMM) in Sweden.


We identified 186 patients from the Swedish National Cancer Registry diagnosed with primary melanomas arising from the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, or both, during the period 1960 through 2000. Incidence, gender and age, primary anatomical sites, geographic distribution, treatment and survival were investigated.


The age-standardized incidence of SNMM increased significantly during the 41-year-period, with a higher overall incidence for females than males, but with a more rapid increase for males than for females. The incidence increased with age, peaking after the eightieth year in both genders. About 70 % of the cases were clinically amelanotic. The most common primary treatment was surgery. Five-year, disease-specific survival rates were poor for all these patients, but women had a significantly better survival time than men. For both genders the survival rate lengthened during the study period, irrespective of therapeutic strategy.


SNMM is a rare disease, but the incidence in Sweden has increased significantly from 1960 through 2000, although not at the same pace as that of cutaneous malignant melanoma. Both the incidence and the survival were significantly higher in females than in males, but the reason for these gender differences is unknown.

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