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Isolated Limb Perfusion for Melanoma is Safe and Effective in Elderly Patients

Max F. Madu MD, Marion M. Deken MD, Jos A. van der Hage MD, PhD, Katarzyna Jóźwiak PhD, Michel W. J. M. Wouters MD, PhD, Alexander C. J. van Akkooi MD, PhD
Volume 24, Issue 7 / July , 2017



Data on isolated limb perfusion (ILP) in elderly melanoma patients are scarce. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ILP in our institutional cohort of melanoma patients.


We performed retrospective analysis of stage IIIB/C melanoma patients who underwent ILP for melanoma in-transit metastases (ITMs) in our institution between 2000 and 2016. Normothermic ILP was performed with either melphalan or melphalan and tumor necrosis factor. Baseline and treatment characteristics, locoregional progression-free survival (LPFS) and melanoma-specific survival (MSS) were assessed and prognostic factors for response, recurrence, and survival were analyzed using univariable and multivariable analysis.


Overall, 91 patients were included in this study. Based on the median age of 70 years, we split patients into younger and elderly groups. No differences in response rates were observed between age groups, with an overall response rate of 81% and complete response (CR) rate of 47%. LPFS did not differ between age groups, and median LPFS was 16 months for patients with a CR. Median MSS was 38 months and differed between younger (45 months) and elderly patients (18 months). Toxicity was generally mild and did not differ between age groups. Two patients (2.2%) suffered Wieberdink IV toxicity, while no patients required amputation because of severe toxicity. CR was prognostic for improved LPFS and MSS, while patients >70 years of age and patients with stage IIIC disease had a higher risk of melanoma-specific death.


Because of its safety profile and high CR rates, ILP is a viable option for patients with bulky or multiple melanoma ITMs, including elderly (>70 years of age) patients.

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