Introduction: Approximately 23% of melanoma patients will eventually develop pulmonary metastases and have a median survival of only about 7-11 months. Because pulmonary metastasectomy can improve this statistic, we investigated clinicopathologic features and biological correlates that might be used to identify surgical candidates.
Methods: Archived operative specimens and clinical records were retrieved for 20 melanoma patients who underwent resection of isolated pulmonary metastases at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, Saint John's Health Center. Five-year postmetastasectomy survival (PMS) rate was correlated with age, number of pulmonary metastases, tumor doubling time (TDT), tumor necrosis, and immunohistochemical expressions of four biological markers: Ki-67, glucose transporter-1 (Glut-1), caspase-3, and CD31.
Results: Median TDT was 61 days. On multivariate analysis, TDT (P = 0.008), Glut-1 intensity (P = 0.04), and CD31 expression (P = 0.004) were the significant predictors of PMS. Age, number of pulmonary metastases, tumor necrosis, and expression of Ki-67 or caspase-3 did not significantly impact survival. Median TDT was 56 days with Glut-1 expression versus 165 days without Glut-1 expression (P = 0.002), and Glut-1 staining intensity independently affected TDT (P = 0.012).
Conclusions: Surgical resection may be preferable to toxic systemic therapies in melanoma patients whose isolated pulmonary metastases have a long TDT (> or = 61 days) and no biopsy evidence of Glut-1 expression.