Adjuvant intra-arterial hepatic fotemustine for high-risk uveal melanoma patients

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Uveal melanoma metastases occur most commonly in the liver. Given the 50% mortality rate in patients at high risk of developing liver metastases, we tested an adjuvant intra-arterial hepatic (i.a.h.) chemotherapy with fotemustine after proton beam irradiation of the primary tumour. We treated 22 high-risk patients with adjuvant i.a.h. fotemustine. Planned treatment duration was 6 months, starting with four weekly doses of 100 mg/m2, and after a 5-week rest, repeated every 3 weeks. The survival of this patient group was compared with that of a 3 : 1 matched control group randomly selected from our institutional database. Half of the patients experienced ≥grade 3 hepatotoxicity (one patient developing cholangitis 8 years later). Catheter-related complications occurred in 18%. With a median follow-up of 4.6 years for the fotemustine group and 8.5 years for the control group, median overall survival was 9 years [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.2–12.7] and 7.4 years (95% CI 5.4–12.7; P=0.5), respectively, with 5-year survival rates of 75 and 56%. Treatment with adjuvant i.a.h. fotemustine is feasible. However, toxicities are important. Although our data suggest a survival benefit, it was not statistically significant. Confirming such a benefit would require a large, internationally coordinated, prospective randomized trial.

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