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Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2011 Nov;7(11):1383-94. doi: 10.1517/17425255.2011.609555. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

Minimally invasive intra-arterial regional therapy for metastatic melanoma: isolated limb infusion and percutaneous hepatic perfusion.

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Moffitt Cancer Center, Department of Cutaneous Oncology, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.



In-transit melanoma or melanoma presenting as unresectable liver metastases are clinical situations with limited therapeutic options. Regional intra-arterial therapies provide efficacious treatment alternatives for these patients. Through surgical techniques of vascular isolation, regional therapies deliver high-dose chemotherapy to tumor cells while minimizing systemic exposure. However, percutaneous techniques such as isolated limb infusion (ILI) and percutaneous hepatic perfusion (PHP) have been developed, which provide a minimally invasive means of obtaining vascular isolation of target organs.


Areas covered in this review include the techniques of ILI and PHP, the chemotherapeutic agents utilized during these regional therapies and the clinical responses seen after ILI and PHP. The pharmacokinetics of regional chemotherapy utilized during ILI and PHP is also reviewed with an additional focus on novel ways to optimize drug delivery to improve response rates and attempts to define the potential systemic manifestations of regional therapeutics.


Unresectable hepatic and limb in-transit metastases from melanoma are very difficult to treat. Systemic chemotherapy has largely been ineffective. Both the minimally invasive, percutaneous techniques of ILI and PHP are excellent methods used to deliver extremely high-dose chemotherapy regionally to patients harboring metastatic melanoma confined to an extremity or liver, respectively. Studies, from prospectively maintained databases as well as Phase II and III trials, have shown the great efficacy of these techniques.

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