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Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Aug;6(8):3062-70.

A phase I-II study of isolated hepatic perfusion using melphalan with or without tumor necrosis factor for patients with ocular melanoma metastatic to liver.

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  • 1Surgical Metabolism Section, Surgery Branch, Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


There are no satisfactory treatment options for patients with ocular melanoma metastatic to liver, and after liver metastases are identified, median survival is only between 2 and 7 months. Because liver metastases are the sole or life-limiting component of disease in the vast majority of patients who recur, we reasoned that complete vascular isolation and perfusion of the liver might result in clinically meaningful regression of disease. Between September 1994 and July 1999, 22 patients (13 women and 9 men; mean age, 49 years) with ocular melanoma metastatic to liver were treated with a 60-min hyperthermic isolated hepatic perfusion (IHP) using melphalan alone (1.5-2.5 mg/kg, n = 11) or with tumor necrosis factor (TNF, 1.0 mg, n = 11). Via a laparotomy, IHP inflow was via the hepatic artery alone (n = 17) or hepatic artery and portal vein (n = 5) and outflow from an isolated segment of inferior vena cava. Most patients had advanced tumor burden with a mean percentage of hepatic replacement of 25% (range, 10-75%) and a median number of metastatic nodules of 25 (range, 5 to >50). Complete vascular isolation was confirmed in all patients using a continuous intraoperative leak monitoring technique with 131I radiolabeled albumin. There was one treatment mortality (5%). The overall response rate in 21 patients was 62% including 2 radiographic complete responses (9.5%) and 11 partial responses (52%). The overall median duration of response was 9 months (range, 5-50) and was significantly longer in those treated with TNF than without (14 versus 6 months, respectively; P = 0.04). Overall median survival in 22 patients was 11 months. These data indicate that a single 60-min IHP can result in significant regression of advanced hepatic metastases from ocular melanoma. TNF appears to significantly prolong the duration of response.

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