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Infusing chemotherapy into the liver gives extra months of disease-free life in melanoma patients
Date:9/23/2011

ropenia [low white blood cell count] and thrombocytopenia [low platelet count]. The majority of patients were able to undergo multiple treatments in the PHP arm, as toxicity resolved, whereas the major toxicity in the control arm was liver failure and/or death on treatment from disease progression," he will say.

"This is the first treatment to show a clinical benefit in patients with liver metastases from ocular melanoma. Most patients retain 80% or more of their daily functional status, and return to full performance once therapy is completed. If subsequent recurrence is noted in the liver, retreatment is possible and effective. At this point, it appears that there are groups of patients surviving substantially longer than those control arm of the study, with good quality of liver and preservation of liver function."

PHP potentially could be used for other cancers that have spread to the liver. "We have demonstrated efficacy in a phase II setting for patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumours [2], so the application of this technology is likely to expand to other tumour types," says Prof Pingpank. "In addition, we have previously demonstrated efficacy of high dose regional melphalan for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, albeit through a different circuit."

The device that delivers and filters the melphalan has been approved in Europe for use in all malignant liver tumours, while approval is pending in the USA for melanoma only.

Prof Pingpank will conclude: "Certainly, with 50 percent of melanoma patients with metastatic liver disease dying of liver failure, we see this as a frontline therapy for patients with this disease. There is always controversy surrounding the application of regional therapy to patients with metastatic disease, especially when there is a high risk for metastases elsewhere in the body. However, at present, the dearth of options for patients with metastatic melanoma renders this a moot point,
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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