Mucosal Melanoma of Head and Neck Staging 

Updated: Feb 06, 2018
  • Author: Marvaretta M Stevenson, MD; Chief Editor: Guy J Petruzzelli, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS  more...
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TNM Classification for Mucosal Melanoma of Head and Neck

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) tumor/node/metastasis (TNM) classification for mucosal melanoma of the head and neck is provided below, along with anatomic staging. [1, 2]

Table 1. TNM classification (Open Table in a new window)

Primary tumor (T)
T3 Tumors limited to the mucosa and immediately underlying soft tissue, regardless of thickness or greatest dimension; for example, polypoid nasal disease, pigmented or nonpigmented lesions of the oral cavity, pharynx, or larynx
T4 Moderately advanced or very advanced disease
T4a Moderately advanced disease



Tumor involving deep soft tissue, cartilage, bone, or overlying skin



T4b Very advanced disease



Tumor involving brain, dura, skull base, lower cranial nerves (IX, X, XI, XII), masticator space, carotid artery, prevertebral space, or mediastinal structures



Regional lymph nodes (N)
NX Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed
N0 No regional lymph node metastases
N1 Regional lymph node metastases present
Distant metastasis (M)
cM0 No distant metastasis
cM1 Distant metastasis
pM1 Distant metastasis, microscopically confirmed

Table 2. Anatomic stage/prognostic groups (Open Table in a new window)

Stage T N M
III T3 N0 M0
IVA T4a N0 M0
T3-T4a N1 M0
IVB T4b Any N M0
IVC Any T Any N M1