In a nutshell
This study looked at the use of surgery for spread disease (metastases) in patients with advanced melanoma when other whole-body treatments had failed. It found that surgical removal of metastases improved the outcomes of these patients.
Advanced melanoma can spread to many places in the body. It is usually treated with immune- and targeted therapy. These are specific treatments that can travel in the bloodstream and attack the tumor wherever it is with- or without the help of the immune system.
When these whole-body therapies are unsuccessful, surgery to remove the tumors can sometimes be attempted. It is not clear how effective surgery for metastases is in these patients.
Methods & findings
This study looked at 190 patients with advanced melanoma. All patients had failed to respond to immune/targeted therapy. Patients were treated with surgery to remove the tumors. Some patients had all detectable tumors removed, others were left with parts of the tumors remaining. Patients were followed up for an average of 34 months.
Overall, 48% of patients survived for at least 5 years after surgery. The average overall survival was 53 months. 21% of patients had no signs of cancer progression for 3 years.
Patients who had tumors completely removed had the best outcomes. This group had a 5-year survival rate of 69%.
The bottom line
This study showed that surgery for spread tumors is an effective treatment and improves the outcomes of patients with advanced melanoma when medical treatment was not successful.
The fine print
This study involved a relatively small patients group. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Published By :
Annals of Surgical Oncology
Aug 04, 2021