Introduction: Metastatic malignant cutaneous melanoma (MCM)-a highly immunogenic cancer-typically has a poor prognosis. Viscum album extracts (VAEs) have strong immune-stimulating, apoptogenic, and cytotoxic effects.
Case presentation: A 66-year-old MCM patient with newly diagnosed lymph node metastases opted for sole VAE treatment. VAEs were initially applied subcutaneously, and then later in exceptionally high, fever-inducing doses, both intravenously and intralesionally. The metastases shrunk over the following months, and after 2 years, all lesions had completely remitted (regional and hilar lymph nodes). The patient has been tumor free for 3.5 years at the time of publication (and for 5 years since initiation of intensified VAE treatment). Besides fever and flu-like symptoms, no side effects occurred.
Discussion: We presume that VAE triggered an increased release of tumor-associated antigens, enhanced immunologic recognition, and increased immune response against the tumor tissue and induced tumor remission.