Safety and efficacy of isolated limb infusion with cytotoxic drugs in elderly patients with advanced locoregional melanoma.

Research paper by Hidde M HM Kroon, D-Yin DY Lin, Peter C A PC Kam, John F JF Thompson

Indexed on: 29 May '09Published on: 29 May '09Published in: Annals of surgery


The treatment of elderly patients with advanced metastatic melanoma confined to a limb remains controversial. Isolated limb infusion (ILI) is an effective minimally invasive alternative to isolated limb perfusion (ILP) and is therefore a potentially valuable therapeutic option for this group.From our prospective database 185 patients with advanced metastatic melanoma of the limb treated with a single ILI between 1992 and 2007 were identified. In all patients a cytotoxic combination of melphalan and actinomycin-D was used.Eighty-six patients (46%) were >or=75 years of age (range: 75-93). The patient characteristics in both groups were comparable except that the older group comprised more women (71% vs. 54%; P = 0.02) and had a lower body mass index (median: 24.4 vs. 26.4; P = 0.008). Complete response rates were 34% for those >or=75 years and 41% in the younger group (P = 0.28). There was no difference in limb recurrence free interval after a complete response (median: 24 months for both groups; P = 0.51) or in survival (median: 36 months for <75, 39 months for >or=75; P = 0.36) between both groups. Older patients experienced less limb toxicity after the procedure (Wieberdink grade III/IV toxicity in 36%) compared with younger patients (51%; P = 0.009) while systemic toxicity, complications, and long-term morbidity were similar.Elderly patients with advanced metastatic melanoma of the limb experience the same or lower toxicity after ILI compared with younger patients while response rates, limb recurrence free interval, survival, and morbidity are similar. ILI is an attractive alternative to the more laborious ILP, especially for older patients.