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Surg Clin North Am. 2003 Apr;83(2):323-42.

Radiation therapy for malignant melanoma.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA.


Although surgery remains the primary treatment for patients with localized melanoma, available data indicate that there is a need for improved local-regional control in situations where complete surgical resection may be difficult or when high-risk features are noted pathologically. Retrospective and phase II prospective studies have revealed that elective/adjuvant radiotherapy can significantly improve the local-regional control rate in these clinical settings. The impact of elective/adjuvant radiotherapy on the incidence of distant metastasis and overall survival has yet to be determined, however. Additionally, there remains a role for radiotherapy as a primary treatment alternative for elderly patients with large facial lentigo maligna melanoma. The optimal radiation fractionation schedule remains controversial. The hypofractionated regimen is well tolerated, has resulted in improved local-regional control as compared with historical surgical results, and is convenient for a group of patients in whom survival expectations are low. Significant improvements in outcome will require commensurate improvements in systemic disease control. The importance of local control to reduce local morbidity, however, should not be underestimated, and future research goals should include randomized clinical trials to further define the role of adjuvant irradiation alone or in combination with systemic therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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