Background: Patients with regionally advanced melanoma are at high risk of distant failure and unlikely to be cured by surgery alone. Neoadjuvant therapy may provide benefit in these patients. Objectives: To evaluate our experience with neoadjuvant systemic therapy in high-risk stage III patients. Methods: Retrospective review of patients with advanced stage III disease who received neoadjuvant therapy between August 2009 and August 2016 at Mayo Clinic Rochester. Results: Twenty-three cases met our inclusion criteria, 16 with resectable disease and 7 with unresectable disease. No patients with resectable disease and one patient with borderline resectable disease progressed regionally, prohibiting surgical resection. Five of seven patients with unresectable disease were down-staged to a resectable state. Six of twenty-three (26%) had a CR and five are alive at last follow-up. Fifteen of twenty three patients (65%) progressed with a median progression free survival of 11 months; however, the 5 year overall survival estimate was 84%. Conclusions: Neoadjuvant systemic therapy is a reasonable approach for patients with advanced but resectable/borderline resectable disease and the risk of losing regional control is low. Our data also suggest some patients with unresectable disease will be converted to resectable and a complete clinical response to treatment can be obtained in approximately one quater of patients.
- complete response
ASJC Scopus subject areas