• Vol. 39 No. 8, 634–639
  • 15 August 2010

Surgical Metastasectomy in AJCC Stage IV M1c Melanoma Patients with Gastrointestinal and Liver Metastases



Introduction: Visceral metastases from melanoma represent the poorest prognosis based according to the revised version of the AJCC staging system that recognises both clinical and pathological features distinctive to melanoma. Given that systemic treatments in metastatic melanoma to date remains inadequate, we evaluated the efficacy of surgical metastasectomy on survival outcomes.

Materials and Methods: Between year 2000 and 2009, 23 patients with visceral metastases from melanoma were evaluated for metastasectomy. Retrospective review was undertaken of the specific therapy administered following consensus meeting of a multidisciplinary team.

Results: There were 16 males and 7 females. Seventeen patients (74%) had metachronous gastrointestinal/liver metastases following previous treatment of the primary tumour. The median time to development of gastrointestinal/liver metastases, otherwise known as disease-free interval, was 49 (range, 5 to 559) months. Overall median survival period was 9 months, with a 1- and 3-year survival percentages of 39% and 30%, respectively. Survival was influenced by the number of metastases (P = 0.05) and the treatment received (P = 0.03). The disease-free and overall survival periods after metastasectomy were 14 and 21 months, respectively. The 1- and 3-year survival percentages were 60% and 40%, respectively. Patients with single site of metastasis survived longer than patients with more than one site of metastasis (P = 0.005).

Conclusion: Patients with visceral metastases from melanoma may derive survival benefit from metastasectomy over systemic therapy. Judicious selection of patients for metastasectomy is paramount for the success of treatment in this group of patients.

The prognosis of patients with stage IV melanoma or recurrent melanoma is poor with an estimated median survival period of 6 months. The recent revised version of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system for cutaneous melanoma has further sub-divided melanoma metastatic sites to 3 specific categories; skin, subcutaneous tissue or distant lymph node as M1a, lung metastases as M1b, and any other visceral sites as M1c.

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