Isolated limb infusion chemotherapy for melanoma: an overview of early experience at the Adelaide Melanoma Unit
Mitchell H Giles,1 Brendon J Coventry2
1Adelaide Melanoma Unit, 2Discipline of Surgery, The University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital Adelaide, SA, Australia
Background: Isolated limb infusion (ILI) using cytotoxic agents has been demonstrated to be an effective and less invasive alternative modality than isolated limb perfusion for the treatment of melanoma localized to a limb. Percutaneous catheters were inserted into the axial artery and vein of the affected limb while using a pneumatic cuff to restrict limb vascular flow proximally to "isolate" the limb from the body and enable delivery of high-dose intra-arterial chemotherapy selectively to the limb. The ILI technique was developed at the Sydney Melanoma Unit (now renamed the Melanoma Institute Australia), and only a few other centers have reported separate results. We report our early results using the ILI technique for management of locally recurrent surgically nonresectable melanoma.
Methods and results: Twenty-eight ILI procedures were performed in 20 patients treated with one or more procedures between 1997 and 2007. Patient parameters and clinical responses were evaluated. The median follow-up duration was 15.9 months after the first ILI, with an overall response rate after one or more infusions of 70%, of which 35% were complete responders and 35% were partial responders, with a further 20% showing stable disease, giving a "clinically significant" response rate of 90%. After one ILI (n = 20), the overall response rate was 70%, with 20% complete responders and 50% partial responders, and 20% with stable disease. Low limb toxicities were generally observed, and no amputations were required.
Conclusion: ILI chemotherapy is a useful technique, which can be readily repeated for control of melanoma in the limb. It is generally well tolerated, and is capable of achieving a cure, delayed progression, or effective palliation in selected cases. The longest survivors in this series were 8 and 10 years from the last ILI.
Keywords: metastatic melanoma, melphalan, actinomycin-D, regional therapy, intra-arterial infusion
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