Plasma cytokine analysis in patients with advanced extremity melanoma undergoing isolated limb infusion

Ann Surg Oncol. 2013 Apr;20(4):1128-35. doi: 10.1245/s10434-012-2785-5. Epub 2013 Mar 2.


Background: Preprocedure clinical and pathologic factors have failed to consistently differentiate complete response (CR) from progressive disease (PD) in patients after isolated limb infusion (ILI) with melphalan for unresectable in-transit extremity melanoma.

Methods: Multiplex immunobead assay technology (Milliplex MAP Human Cytokine/Chemokine Magnetic Bead Panel, Millipore Corp., Billerica, MA; and Magpix analytical test instrument, Luminex Corp., Austin, TX) was performed on pre-ILI plasma to determine concentrations of selected cytokines (MIP-1α, IL-1Rα, IP-10, IL-1β, IL-1α, MCP-1, IL-6, IL-17, EGF, IL-12p40, VEGF, GM-CSF, and MIP-1β) on a subset of patients (n = 180) who experienced CR (n = 23) or PD (n = 24) after ILI. Plasma from normal donors (n = 12) was also evaluated.

Results: Of 180 ILIs performed, 28 % (95 % confidence interval 22-35, n = 50) experienced a CR, 14 % (n = 25) experienced a partial response, 11 % (n = 21) had stable disease, 34 % (n = 61) had PD, and 13 % (n = 23) were not evaluable for response. Tumor characteristics and pharmacokinetics appeared similar between CR (n = 23) and PD (n = 24) patients who underwent cytokine analysis. Although there were no differences in cytokine levels between CR and PD patients, there were differences between the melanoma patients and controls. MIP-1α, IL-1Rα, IL-1β, IL-1α, IL-17, EGF, IL-12p40, VEGF, GM-CSF, and MIP-1β were significantly higher in normal controls compared to melanoma patients, while IP-10 was lower (p < 0.001) in controls compared to melanoma patients.

Conclusions: Patients with unresectable in-transit melanoma appear to have markedly decreased levels of immune activating cytokines compared to normal healthy controls. This further supports a potential role for immune-targeted therapies and immune monitoring in patients with regionally advanced melanoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chemotherapy, Cancer, Regional Perfusion*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Extremities*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / blood*
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melphalan / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / blood*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality
  • Survival Rate


  • Cytokines
  • Melphalan