Adjuvant interferon alfa in malignant melanoma: an interdisciplinary and multinational expert review

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2013 Feb;85(2):149-61. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Aug 5.


Interferon alfa (IFNα) and pegylated IFNα2b (PegIFNα2b) are the only agents currently approved for the adjuvant treatment of resected melanoma at high risk of recurrence. Meta-analyses showed statistically significant disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) benefits versus controls but did not clarify optimal dose/duration. We review data from all recent clinical trials to provide the latest information on dose, duration, and potential predictive factors of treatment success. Recent data largely confirm DFS and OS benefits but optimal dose/duration is not clarified. The data suggest greater responses in patients with stage III micro-metastatic versus macro-metastatic disease, and ulceration may also predict greater sensitivity to therapy, although further investigation is needed. Presently, IFNα and PegIFNα2b remain valid adjuvant therapies following resection of high-risk melanoma; the most appropriate treatment regimen should be determined on an individual patient basis according to patient lifestyle and approach, potential for toxicity, and the available clinical evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Interferon-alpha