Medline: 2460420

International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 15(4): 859-864, 1988.

Palliative radiotherapy for metastatic malignant melanoma: brain metastases, bone metastases, and spinal cord compression.

Rate WR, Solin LJ, Turrisi AT


The records of all patients receiving palliative radiotherapy for metastatic malignant melanoma to brain, to bone, or with spinal cord compression were reviewed. The median survival of 77 patients with brain metastases from the initiation of radiotherapy was 14 weeks. A statistically improved survival was observed only in the 10 patients who underwent subtotal to total resection of a solitary brain metastasis prior to radiotherapy (median = 36 weeks). No improved survival was observed in the 12 patients with a solitary brain metastasis treated by radiotherapy alone (median = 16 weeks). Multivariate analysis revealed that fraction size, total dose, patient age, sex, and duration of the interval between initial diagnosis and appearance of brain metastases did not significantly influence survival, but the use of chemotherapy was associated with a decreased survival. Twenty six patients with symptomatic and radiographic evidence of 39 bone metastases showed a palliative response rate of 85%. 18 of 20 bony lesions treated with high-dose-per-fraction (greater than or equal to 400 cGy) and 15 of 19 bony lesions treated with conventional fractionation (less than or equal to 300 cGy) were palliated. Total dose, patient age, sex, interval between initial diagnosis of malignant melanoma and the appearance of bone metastases, prior or concurrent chemotherapy, or lesion location did not significantly influence palliation. Seventeen patients were identified with symptomatic and myelographic evidence of spinal cord compression. Complete palliation was observed in 47% (8/17) and partial palliation was observed in 24% (4/17). The overall palliation response rate for neurologic symptoms due to spinal cord compression of 71% appeared to be independent of fraction size and total dose.

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