, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1373-1378
Date: 03 Feb 2012

Quality of Life Outcomes after Isolated Limb Infusion

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Isolated limb infusion (ILI) for the treatment of in-transit melanoma was originally described more than 10 years ago. Response rates of 45–53% have been reported in U.S. series. Long-term quality of life outcomes after this procedure have not been described. We hypothesized that ILI is rarely associated with long-term limb morbidity.


ILIs performed at our institution between July 2005 and June 2009 were reviewed. Patients were contacted cross-sectionally at 2 time points. During these interviews, response to treatment and postoperative limb function were assessed.


Thirty-two ILIs were performed during the time period. Twenty-seven patients were treated for in-transit melanoma; 5 were treated for recurrent Merkel cell carcinoma. The 30-day mortality was 0%. Three patients (9%) required fasciotomy. Durable complete responses were achieved in 41% of patients, with mean follow-up time of 19.4 ± 9.6 months after infusion; after this period, 53% reported progression of disease. The most common postprocedure symptoms were edema (88%), numbness (59%), and pain (59%). By 3 months and at the time of last follow-up, the most common symptoms were edema (82%), numbness (65%), and stiffness (35%). No patients reported impaired limb function at the time of last follow-up compared to baseline. Median survival was 19.2 ± 4.2 months after infusion.


ILI for melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma is associated with postprocedure symptoms in most patients, most commonly edema, color change, and numbness. At last follow-up, no ILI patients had residual functional impairment in the treated limb.