Hepatic resection for metastatic melanoma: distinct patterns of recurrence and prognosis for ocular versus cutaneous disease

Ann Surg Oncol. 2006 May;13(5):712-20. doi: 10.1245/ASO.2006.01.016. Epub 2006 Mar 14.


Background: Resection of melanoma metastatic to the liver remains controversial. We evaluated the efficacy of hepatic resection in patients with metastatic ocular and cutaneous melanoma and assessed factors that could affect survival after resection.

Methods: Forty patients with hepatic melanoma metastasis underwent resection at four major hepatobiliary centers. Clinicopathologic factors were evaluated with regard to recurrence and survival by using chi(2) and log-rank tests.

Results: The primary tumor was ocular in 16 patients and cutaneous in 24. The median disease-free interval from the time of primary tumor treatment to hepatic metastasis was the same for both groups (ocular, 62.9 months; cutaneous, 63.1 months; P = .94). Most patients underwent either an extended hepatic resection (37.5%) or hemihepatectomy (22.5%). Twenty-six patients (65%) received perioperative systemic therapy. Thirty (75.0%) of 40 patients developed tumor recurrence. The median time to recurrence after hepatic resection was 8.3 months (ocular, 8.8 months; cutaneous, 4.7 months; P = .3). Patients with primary ocular melanoma were more likely to experience recurrence within the liver (53.3% vs. 17.4%; P = .015), whereas patients with a cutaneous primary tumor more often developed extrahepatic involvement. The 5-year survival rate for patients with a primary ocular melanoma was 20.5%, whereas there were no 5-year survivors for patients with cutaneous melanoma (P = .03).

Conclusions: Patterns of recurrence and prognosis after resection of hepatic melanoma metastasis differ depending on whether the primary melanoma is ocular or cutaneous. Resection should be performed as part of a multidisciplinary approach, because recurrence is common.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Eye Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Melanoma / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Patient Selection
  • Prognosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Survival Rate