Background: Older patients are assumed to have a higher risk of complications from isolated limb perfusion (ILP). A study was performed evaluating the safety and efficacy of ILP in patients older than 75 years with advanced melanoma of the limbs.
Methods: A total of 218 therapeutic ILPs with melphalan with or without tumor necrosis factor alpha were performed in 202 patients with advanced measurable melanoma and were analyzed retrospectively. Fifty-three patients (28%) were 75 years or older.
Results: Complete response rates were 56% for those older than 75 years and 58% for the younger group (P =.79). Locoregional relapse occurred in 56% of the older group versus 51% in the younger group (P =.61). Limb toxicity, systemic toxicity, local complications, and long-term morbidity were similar in both age groups. Perioperative mortality was low, with one procedure-related death in the older group. Older patients stayed in the hospital for a median of 23 days (younger patients, 19 days; P <.01).
Conclusions: ILP results in similar response rates in the elderly with recurrent melanoma, without increased toxicity, complications, or long-term morbidity compared with younger patients. Older age in itself is not a contraindication for ILP.