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Combination chemotherapy of dacarbazine and fotemustine in disseminated malignant melanoma. Experience of the French Study Group.

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Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.


A total of 70 patients presenting with a disseminated malignant melanoma were entered into a multicentric study of combination chemotherapy using dacarbazine and fotemustine. In all, 63 patients were evaluable, 31.8% of whom had previously received cytotoxic chemotherapy. The protocol consisted of induction treatment with a weekly infusion of 100 mg/m2 fotemustine on days 1 and 8 and a daily infusion of 250 mg/m2 dacarbazine on days 15/18 followed by a 4- to 5-week rest period. Responding and stabilized patients were given maintenance treatment comprising fotemustine (100 mg/m2, day 1) and dacarbazine (250 mg/m2, days 2/5) every 3 weeks. The response rate was 33.3% (9 complete responses (CRs) and 12 partial responses (PRs)) and was outstanding among pretreated patients (34.9%). Responses were also documented in cerebral (28.6%), visceral (23.1%) and nonvisceral (43.3%) metastatic sites. Toxicity was mainly hematologic (22.2%, grade III/IV leukopenia; 20.3%, grade III/IV thrombocytopenia) and was acceptable. These results are encouraging in terms of the antitumor activity against nonvisceral metastases (43.3%) and the percentage of CRs obtained (23.3%), and they confirm the activity of fotemustine in cerebral metastatic sites.

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