The natural history of resectable metastatic melanoma (Stage IVA Melanoma)

Lynn G. Feun, Jordon Gutterman, M. Andrew Burgess, Evan M. Hersh, Giora Mavligit, Robert S. Benjamin, Stephen P. Richman, William K. Murphy, Gerald P. Bodey, Barry W. Brown, Emil J. Freireich, Charles M. McBride, Clifton F. Mountain, Milam E. Leavens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


One‐hundred‐two patients with malignant melanoma who had distant metastases surgically resected and were judged to be clinically free of disease (M. D. Anderson Stage IVA melanoma) were studied. The median survival for all the patients from time of diagnosis of stage IVA disease was 18 months. The site of the resected metastases did not appear to influence survival, being approximately the same for the brain (15 months), lung (16 months), intraabdominal (18 months), and skin and/or lymph nodes (23 months). The site of the resected metastases also did not influence the median disease‐free interval. Patients who had metastases resected from several organs at the same time had a median survival of 15 months, which was similar to that of patients with one resected site. Patients who were rendered Stage IVA on several occasions by surgical excisions had a median survival of 36 months. Thirty‐five patients received surgery only and 67 patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or combined chemoimmunotherapy after surgery. For the group treated with surgery only, the median disease‐free interval and survival from diagnosis of stage IVA disease were 6 months and 16 months, respectively, and for the adjuvant group 6 months and 21 months, respectively. Specifically, by the type of adjuvant therapy, the median disease‐free interval and survival from stage IVA for 23 patients receiving Corynebacterium parvum were 6.9 and 19 months; for 39 patients receiving BCG, eight months and 26 months; for 24 patients receiving BCG + DTIC, eight and 17.4 months; and for all 51 DTIC treated patients 6.3 and 17.8 months, respectively. Patients receiving BCG had a median survival superior to the surgery only group (P = 0.02). An increase in survival was seen predominantly in patients who achieved IVA status more than once and received BCG. Patients with recurrent soft‐tissue metastases appeared to benefit most from BCG in prolonging the disease‐free interval. Only 1/10 treated by surgery alone had a disease‐free interval longer than 1 year, compared with 9/16 who received BCG (P = 0.01). Stage IVA melanoma appears to be distinctly different in prognosis from Stage IVB melanoma and should be classified separately. Patients with recurrent soft‐tissue disease may benefit significantly from treatment with BCG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1656-1663
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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