To determine the influence of acute regional toxic reactions on the incidence and characteristics of long-term morbidity after regional isolated perfusion with melphalan.
The Amsterdam and Rotterdam perfusion centers, the Netherlands.
All patients with melanoma who were treated between 1978 and 1990 and had a minimum follow-up of 1 year after perfusion (n=367).
Fifty-four patients (15%) had perfusion of the upper limb, 313 (85%) had perfusion of the lower limb, and 164 patients (45%) underwent regional lymph node dissection at the time of perfusion.
Main Outcome Measure:
Incidence and characteristics of morbidity 1 year after perfusion and the influence of acute regional toxic reactions on long-term morbidity.
One hundred sixty patients (44%) showed some degree of objective or subjective morbidity; most (104 [28%]) had lymphedema. Other long-term morbidity consisted of muscle atrophy or fibrosis (42 [11%]), limb malfunction (55 [15%]), neuropathy (13 [4%]), pain (28 [8%]), and recurrent infection (11 [3%]). Miscellaneous complications were seen in 14 patients (4%). Seventy-one patients (19%) had more than one complication. Acute regional toxic reactions had a statistically significant effect on the incidence of long-term morbidity (P<.01). Moderate to severe acute regional toxic reactions were strongly linked to the occurrence of muscle atrophy or fibrosis (P<.001) and limb malfunction (P<.001). Regional lymph node dissection was statistically significantly related to lymphedema (P=.05).
Improvement of the perfusion technique should be pursued in an effort to reduce acute regional toxic reactions, and thereby long-term morbidity, without compromising the therapeutic effect.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:43-47)