A prospective, nonrandomized trial was performed of the four-drug chemotherapy protocol consisting of dacarbazine, carmustine, cisplatin, and tamoxifen citrate given to high-risk patients for recurrence of melanoma after local regional treatment. The treated patients were consecutively registered and 6 patients who did not elect to be treated served as the control population. Criteria for inclusion in the trial were the presence of four or more lymph nodes positive for metastatic melanoma on regional nodal dissection, the presence of metastatic disease in second station lymph node areas such as the iliac basin, greater than 5 cm in maximal diameter tumor burden in the nodal basin, and patients who had resected stage 4 (systemic metastases) disease with clear margins and were rendered free of disease. Actuarial survival curves for the treated group and the control subjects were similar (p=0.91). There was a definite trend toward an increased disease-free survival for the group receiving adjuvant chemotherapy (p=0.09). The mean disease-free survival for the control population was 200 days and for the treated group, 600 days. The study suggests a therapeutic benefit for adjuvant chemotherapy treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma who have been rendered free of disease but are at high risk for recurrence.
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