Multicenter Experience with Neoadjuvant Therapy in Melanoma Highlights Heterogeneity in Contemporary Practice

Kristen E. Rhodin, Elizabeth M. Gaughan, Vignesh Raman, April K. Salama, Brent A. Hanks, Riddhishkumar Shah, Douglas S. Tyler, Craig L. Slingluff, Georgia M. Beasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the feasibility and impact of neoadjuvant therapy (NT) in patients who present with advanced melanoma amenable to surgical resection. Summary Background Data: Given current effective systemic therapy for melanoma, the use of NT is being explored in patients with advanced melanoma with disease amenable to surgical resection. Methods: Prospective data from 3 institutions was obtained in patients with clinically evident Stage III/IV melanoma who underwent NT. The primary objective was to compare recurrence-free survival between patients who had pathologic complete response (pCR) to those with persistent disease. Results: NT was offered to 45 patients, with 43 patients initiating various NT regimens including PD-1 antagonist (PD-1) therapy (N = 16), PD-1 plus ipilimumab (N = 10), BRAF/MEK inhibitor therapy (N = 14), a combination of those three (N = 1), and talimogene laherparepvec (TVEC) (N = 2). Thirty-two (74.1%) patients underwent surgery whereas 11 patients did not undergo surgery for these reasons: clinical CR (N = 7), progressive disease not amenable to resection (N = 3), and ongoing therapy (N = 1). 12 of 32 patients (37.5%) had pCR with these therapies: PD-1 (N = 4), PD-1 plus ipilimumab (N = 2), BRAF/MEK (N = 4), combination (N = 1), and TVEC (N = 1). At median follow-up of 16.4 months there was only 1 recurrence in the pCR group and patients with a pCR had significantly improved recurrence-free survival compared to patients without pCR (p = 0.004). Conclusions: Despite variability in NT regimens across institutions, NT for melanoma is feasible and associated with improved prognosis in patients who achieve a pCR. Maximizing rates of pCR could improve prognosis for patients with advanced melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1306-E1312
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • immunotherapy
  • melanoma
  • neoadjuvant therapy
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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