Background: Recent study results demonstrate possible clinical benefit from adjuvant treatment with a standardized mistletoe (Viscum album) extract in patients with malignant melanoma.
Patient and method: We present a male patient, currently 68 years of age, with one malignant melanoma at the upper part of the right arm since 1992, and another nodular melanoma at the left shoulder, first diagnosed in 1999. After discovery of the second melanoma and surgical resection, the patient was exclusively treated with standardized mistletoe extract (Iscador, (R)M; Weleda AG, CH-Arlesheim, Switzerland). COURSE OF THERAPY AND RESULTS: In June 1992, histologic analysis confirmed the presence of stage IA superficially spreading malignant melanoma with low infiltration of the papillary dermis in a skin excision sample from the upper part of the right arm. In November 1999, another melanoma was surgically removed at the patient's right shoulder. In this case, the histologic examination revealed nodular melanoma, stage IIA (pT3, pN0, M0). Therapy with mistletoe extract was introduced shortly afterwards as the sole adjuvant treatment. During the course of the mistletoe therapy, axillary removal of 8 lymph nodes became necessary, 3 of which proved to be metastatic. First signs of a defined solitary liver metastasis in an area next to segments IV and V were detected during an abdominal ultrasound examination in September 2001. This finding was confirmed by further sonographic examinations. The solitary liver metastasis was not resected, nor was classical antitumor treatment (chemotherapy or radiotherapy) initiated. The patient continued subcutaneous treatment with Iscador M after dose adaptation to 2 mg twice weekly (0.2 mL of a 10-mg vial); the treatment is still ongoing to the present. By June 2002, complete remission of the liver metastasis was diagnosed by liver ultrasound examination. There has been no local relapse so far, and the patient has been in stable condition ever since. No further metastases were discovered so far (as of May 2006).
Conclusions: The use of low-dose Iscador as the sole postoperative modality for the adjuvant treatment of metastatic melanoma was extremely effective and very well tolerated in this patient. It achieved complete response and absence of all complaints.