Purpose: The aim of the present study is to describe our experience with isolated limb perfusion (ILP) in the treatment of in-transit metastases of malignant melanoma and to determine prognostic factors for response, local progression, survival and toxicity.
Materials and methods: A retrospective follow-up of all patients (n = 163) treated between January 1984 and December 2008 using data collected from individual patient records and the Swedish National Patient Register.
Results: Clinical response was evaluable in 155 patients, 65% had a complete response (CR) and 20% had a partial response (PR). Local progression occurred in 63% of the patients after a median time of 16 months. Negative prognostic factors in univariate analyses were proximal location of the primary tumour, >10 in-transit metastases and if there was no CR after ILP. In multivariate analysis, proximal location of the primary tumour and no CR after ILP were significant prognostic factors. Median cancer-specific survival was 30 months, and negative prognostic factors in univariate analyses were male gender, positive lymph node status, systemic metastases, bulky tumour, >10 in-transit metastases and if there was no CR after ILP. In multivariate analysis, positive lymph node status, bulky tumour and no CR after ILP were significant prognostic factors. A majority (97%) of the patients had a Wieberdink grade II-III local toxicity. Four patients underwent limb amputation after a median of 19 months, none because of toxicity.
Conclusion: We found that ILP is a safe method with a high response rate for the treatment of patients with in-transit metastases of malignant melanoma.