BACKGROUND: Mutations in KIT are more frequent in specific melanoma subtypes, and response to KIT inhibition is likely to depend on the identified mutation. METHODS: A total of 32 patients with metastatic acral or mucosal melanoma were screened for mutations in KIT exons 11, 13 and 17. RESULTS: KIT mutations were found in 38% of mucosal and in 6% of acral melanomas. Three patients were treated with imatinib and one with sorafenib. All four patients responded to treatment, but three have since progressed within the brain. CONCLUSION: The observed clinical responses support further investigation of KIT inhibitors in metastatic melanoma, selected according to KIT mutation status.