In a nutshell
This article provides the results of a study investigating surgical removal of metastatic stage IV melanomas. Results showed that surgical removal of metastatic melanomas can provide an increased survival time compared to systemic treatment alone.
Cutaneous melanoma which spread to other organs of the body (stage IV) is rarely treated with surgery. This is because other tumours are likely to develop from cancer cells circulating in the blood stream. These patients are generally treated with systemic medical therapy (SMT). SMT can include chemotherapy, biological therapy and immunotherapy. However, some small studies have shown that surgical removal, especially where tumours can be fully removed, can extend the expected survival. For example, one study showed that patients with stage IV melanoma had a median survival time of 21 months and an estimated 4-year survival of 31% when treated surgically.
Methods & findings
The bottom line
Overall, the paper suggests that surgical removal of metastatic tumors in patients with stage IV melanoma might be a better option than the current treatment with SMT alone.
Patients may wish to discuss surgical treatment with their consultants, as surgery provided better survival rates than SMT alone no matter if it was carried out before or after SMT.
Published By :
Annals of Surgical Oncology
May 31, 2012