Laryngeal melanosis: A case series and review of the literature

Lauren Hansen-Welches, Charles W. Yates, Susan R. Cordes, Stacey L. Halum

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OBJECTIVES: Laryngeal melanosis (LM) is a rare condition characterized by benign pigmented lesions of the laryngeal mucosa. Currently, the literature has a scarcity of case reports and little is known about its clinical significance. The objective of this study is to investigate if there is association between LM and concomitant squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Methods: Demographics, history, examination findings, and histopathology were reviewed from all patients who presented to our institution between 1995 and 2010. Medline and Ovid searches were then performed to identify all previous case reports of LM available in the literature to date. Results: Eleven patients, all African American and chronic tobacco users, were identified with LM. The most common presenting symptom was throat pain, and examination most often (n=9) revealed flat, hyperpigmented lesions of the supraglottis. Six patients (50%) had concomitant SCC at adjacent sites. One patient also had CIS (10%) of the true vocal cord. This study was found to represent the single largest case series of laryngeal melanosis to date. Based on the limited number of cases reported previously (17 total), a coexistent SCC rate of 30% was noted which is consistent with that in our study. Conclusions: Based on our series and review of the literature, laryngeal melanosis is a rare disorder that is associated with chronic tobacco use. Most notably, clinicians should be aware of the possible association between LM and concomitant SCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S170
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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    Hansen-Welches, L., Yates, C. W., Cordes, S. R., & Halum, S. L. (2011). Laryngeal melanosis: A case series and review of the literature. Laryngoscope, 121(SUPPL. 4), S170.