Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Surg Oncol. 1997 Jul-Aug;4(5):440-5.

Mortality, major amputation rates, and leukopenia after isolated limb perfusion with phenylalanine mustard for the treatment of melanoma.

Author information

Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Kentucky 40292, USA.



Isolated limb perfusion (ILP) is a treatment for cutaneous melanoma performed by several centers worldwide. The final data analysis of the World Health Organization and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer in the use of ILP as adjuvant treatment for cutaneous melanoma is pending. ILP is effective to treat recurrent cutaneous melanoma. We determined the published rates of morbidity and mortality of ILP and put that component of the procedure into contemporary perspective.


A MEDLINE search was conducted of the English-language literature from 1980 to 1995 for all publications reporting perfusion with phenylalanine mustard alone or combined with other agents. Patients treated by staged perfusion or fractional doses of chemotherapy were excluded. All published series were analyzed for the rate of mortality, number of major amputations, and presence of leukopenia.


The 30-day mortality rate for > 2,000 patients was 0.6%. Death often resulted from cardiopulmonary complications or overwhelming sepsis from leukopenia. Leukopenia occurred in 0.7% of patients reviewed, caused by leakage of chemotherapeutic agents into the systemic circulation. Major amputations occurred in 0.8% of patients, and most were of the lower extremity.


The definition of efficacy of ILP in the treatment of extremity melanomas remains to be clearly defined. However, based on this review of worldwide publications, the risk of death, amputation, and leukopenia is low.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center