• metastatic melanoma;
  • isolated limb infusion;
  • hypoxia;
  • regional chemotherapy;
  • limb salvage



Isolated limb infusion (ILI) is an effective and minimally invasive treatment option for delivering regional chemotherapy in patients with metastatic melanoma confined to a limb. Recurrent or progressive disease after an ILI, however, presents a challenge for further treatment. The value of repeat ILI in this situation has not been well documented.


Forty-eight patients were identified who had been treated with a repeat ILI. In all patients, a cytotoxic combination of melphalan and actinomycin D was used.


The median time between the 2 procedures was 11 months. The complete response (CR) rate after repeat ILI was 23%, compared with 31% after the initial ILI (P = .36). The overall response was 83%, compared with 75% after the first procedure (P = .32). The median duration of response was 11 months (10 months for patients with CR; P = .80), and median survival was 38 months. In those patients achieving a CR, the median survival was 68 months (P = .003). Toxicity after repeat ILI was increased, with 20 patients experiencing Wieberdink grade III limb toxicity (considerable erythema and edema with blistering) and 5 patients experiencing grade IV toxicity (threatened or actual compartment syndrome), whereas after the initial ILI these toxicity grades occurred in 14 patients and 1 patient, respectively (P = .03). No patient experienced grade V toxicity (requiring amputation).


Repeat ILI is an attractive treatment option to achieve limb salvage in patients with inoperable recurrent or progressive melanoma after a previous ILI. It can be associated with significant short-term regional toxicity, but is well tolerated by most patients, with satisfactory response rates. Cancer 2009. © 2009 American Cancer Society.