Cytokine Therapy in Advanced Melanoma

April 2007 | Volume 6 | Issue 4 | Original Article | 374 | Copyright © April 2007

Amer N. Kalaaji MD

Patients with melanoma considered at high risk for recurrence or regional metastases often have to choose between adjuvant interferon therapy or enrolling in a clinical trial. High-dose interleukin-2 therapy has had limited success in producing durable responses in stage IV melanoma; this success has been offset by marked toxicity. High-dose interferon alpha therapy has consistently shown disease-free survival benefit in clinical trials but has marked toxicity. The overall survival benefit has been inconsistent and controversial. Treatment with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor has shown promise in early studies. Various cytokines have had some success in treating advanced stage melanoma but with marked toxicity. Cytokine therapy that is well-tolerated and consistently provides an overall survival benefit for highrisk melanoma patients has not been achieved. Cytokines will continue to have a role in therapy for advanced-stage melanoma, most likely in combination with other immunomodulatory therapy. The challenge is finding the right doses, frequency, combinations, and duration of treatment.