Multidisciplinary management of very advanced stage III and IV melanoma: Proof-of-principle

Haim Gutman*, Eytan Ben-Ami, Roni Shapira-Frommer, Jacob Schachter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with potentially resectable advanced stage III and IV melanoma are a selected subgroup that gain maximal advantage if treated in a melanoma center. Surgery combined with chemo/chemobiotherapy may yield durable remission and long-term palliation. Thirty-seven non-randomly selected patients underwent systemic therapy with the aim of consolidating treatment by surgery. Data were collected prospectively, and analyzed retrospectively. The median follow-up from diagnosis was 50 (3-307) months and 15 (1-156) months when calculated from the last intervention. Twenty-two males and 15 females, with a median age at diagnosis of 44 (20-71) years, with 13 trunk, 13 extremity, 3 head and neck and 8 unknown primary melanomas were included. There were 17 stage III and 20 stage IV patients with a median Breslow thickness of 3.7 (0.45-26) mm. Chemo/chemobiotherapy achieved 7 clinical complete responses (cCRs), 28 partial responses (PRs) and 2 instances of stable disease. Six of the 7 cCRs were operated on, securing pathological complete response in 5 and PR in one. Four of these five and  the  PR  patient  still  have  no  evidence  of  disease  (NED).  Twenty-one of 30 PR patients were rendered NED by surgery; 14 of these 21 patients succumbed to melanoma, and one is alive with stable disease. Overall, 11 of 37 patients have not succumbed to melanoma, with a median of 72 (14-156) months survival following the last intervention. Of the eight patients with  unknown  primary  melanomas,  five have  not  succumbed  to melanoma, with a median of 89 (30-156) months survival following the last intervention. Patients with marginally resectable stage III and IV melanoma  have  a  significant  30%  chance,  according to this series, for durable remission if treated by a multidisciplinary team in a melanoma center using induction chemobiotherapy and surgery. Results are more favorable for patients with an unknown primary lesion. In view of the currently approved new effective treatments for melanoma, this study may be considered a proof-of-principle investigation, enabling long-term remissions by combining induction therapy and surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-310
Number of pages4
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Chemobiotherapy
  • Complete response
  • Loco-regionally advanced
  • Melanoma
  • Metastatic
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Neoadjuvant
  • Surgery
  • Sustained remission


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