Response of subcutaneous and cutaneous metastases of malignant melanoma to combined cytostatic plus interferon therapy



Summary A chemotherapy regimen consisting of dacarbazine (DTIC), vincristine, bleomycin and lomustine (CCNU) was combined with natural leucocyte interferon (IFN) in the treatment of 37 patients with cutaneous and subcutaneous metastases of malignant melanoma. Twenty-five also had concomitant lymph node, visceral, bone or brain metastases. Fifteen patients (41%) experienced complete response (CR) and 10 (27%) partial response (PR) of the superficial lesions. In addition, three patients were rendered surgically tumour-free after PR or disease stabilization during drug therapy. The median overall duration of response was 10.2 months (range 1–53 months).

In disseminated disease, the combined therapy produced favourable results, particularly with regard to superficial lesions. It is also possible that this therapy may retard the growth of aggressive subcutaneous metastases in patients who have previously had multiple surgical procedures in an attempt to stabilize their disease. In a small proportion of patients, the long-term complete remission with the drug therapy alone, or in combination with surgery, suggests that this regimen might have been curative.