In this report 21 cases of primary malignant melanoma arising from the mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract are reviewed. The patients ranged in age from 30 to 86; mean age was 67 years. There were 10 men and 11 women. All but one patient were white. Sites of involvement were: nose and paranasal sinuses, oral cavity and labial mucosa, parotid duct, and larynx. Surgery was the primary method of treatment. The 2-year survival rate was 44% (7/16) and the 5-year survival rate was 13% (2/15). Regional metastases were seen in 19% (4/21) while distant metastases was seen in 55% (11/21). The local recurrence rate was 69% (11/16). Distant metastases were usually associated with uncontrolled disease at the primary site. This fact as well as the low incidence of regional metastases lead us to conclude that better local control rather than regional lymphatic control is necessary if decreased distant metastases and increased survival are to be achieved.