Management of metastatic melanoma 2005

Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2006 Apr;15(2):419-37. doi: 10.1016/j.soc.2005.12.002.


The management of metastatic melanoma in 2005 remains a major clinical challenge. Multidisciplinary treatment planning and careful attention to sites of metastases, tumor biology, and comorbid conditions are critical to making the best clinical decisions for individual patients. No standard of care exists because no systemic therapies have yet shown efficacy in phase III trials. Single-agent or combination chemotherapy has not impacted over-all survival, and response rates are of short duration. High-dose IL-2 produces durable responses in a small subset (7%) of highly selected patients and has considerable toxicity and quality-of-life trade-offs. Biochemotherapy results in overall higher responses, but its impact on overall survival has been disappointing and its toxicity and expense are considerable. Re-searchers are further investigating biochemotherapy modifications with maintenance biotherapy and CNS consolidation in effort to increase durability of responses and prevent or delay the devastating sequela of CNS metastases. Despite a disappointing past, the advancement of science and a better understanding of critical cellular targets and pathways make the future of melanoma research encouraging. Clinical trials are actively studying novel immune potentiators, cytotoxics, and targeted therapies. Combinations of these new agents will likely be necessary to advance the treatment of the dis-ease. All patients should be encouraged to participate in clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / immunology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors