Sequential Local Injection of Low-Dose Interferon-Beta for Maintenance Therapy in Stage II and III Melanoma: A Single-Institution Matched Case-Control Study

Department of Dermatology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.
Oncology (Impact Factor: 2.42). 03/2012; 82(3):139-46. DOI: 10.1159/000336490
Source: PubMed


To determine the beneficial effect of maintenance therapy in stage II and III melanoma by sequential local injection of low-dose interferon-β.
We reviewed 46 patients with stage II and III primary melanoma at our institution from 2004 through 2009. Twenty-one patients were treated with interferon-β maintenance therapy consisting of subcutaneous injection of natural interferon-β at a dose of 3 × 10(6) IU/day for 10 consecutive days, and 25 patients underwent observation alone.
Compared with all patients, overall survival and relapse-free survival were significantly worse in the observation group than in the interferon-β group (p = 0.024 and 0.029, respectively). In stage II, a significant difference in overall survival, but not in relapse-free survival, was seen between the two groups (p = 0.041). When the interferon-β group was stratified by subgroup, there was a statistical difference only between dosage and duration (p = 0.027 and p < 0.001, respectively).
This study demonstrates that maintenance therapy by interferon-β is beneficial in the outcome of the disease without substantial toxic effects, especially in patients with stage II melanoma. Extension of the duration of treatment beyond 2 years could further improve the therapeutic efficacy of interferon-β.

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    • "In a Japanese study of 46 patients with stage II and III primary cutaneous melanoma, 21 patients were treated with low-dose IFN-β maintenance therapy, and 25 patients underwent observation alone. Overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS) were significantly worse in the observation group: mean OS was 56.3 months for the observation group and 90.6 months for the IFN group, and mean RFS was 54.9 months for the observation group versus 90.3 months for the IFN group [73]. The effects of type I IFNs on melanoma have been summarized in Table 4. "
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