Fourteen consecutive patients with stage IV metastatic melanoma with measurable disease were treated between January 1989 and August 1990 with combination chemotherapy. The chemotherapy regimen (DBPT) included dacarbazine (DTIC) 200 mg/m2i.v. on days 1 through 3, carmustine (BCNU) 150 mg/m2/i.v. on day 1, cisplatin 25 mg/m2/i.v. on days 1 through 3, and tamoxifen citrate 10 mg p.o. twice daily. This cycle was repeated every 4 weeks. BCNU was given every other cycle. A total of six cycles of chemotherapy were delivered. Patients were then restaged to assess the response. Six concurrent patients during the study period did not elect to undergo chemotherapeutic approach and served as control subjects. When evaluated at 300 days of follow-up, 4 patients had response (3 complete response and 1 partial response), 3 had stable disease, and 7 showed progression. At 300 days of evaluation after chemotherapy, survival appeared significantly increased between treated and nontreated groups, that is, 48% in the chemotherapy group versus 27% in the control group (p = 0.03). Actuarial survival was significantly increased between those who responded to chemotherapy versus the nonresponders. At 300 days follow-up, survival was at 83% in the responders and 22% in nonresponders (p = 0.0002). This study shows that in stage IV disease, systemic chemotherapy appears to make a difference in survival. Attempts to discover better chemotherapy regimens to improve response in patients with stage IV malignant melanoma should continue to be rewarded.
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