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Surgical Treatment For Metastatic Melanoma Of The Liver Increases Overall Survival In a Select Group of Patients, Study Finds

Update Date: Jul 01, 2014 11:16 AM EDT
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Surgical treatment increases survival for metastatic melanoma patients whose disease is limited to the liver, according to a new study. 

Further when the surgical treatment is combined with systemic therapy, the combination holds promise for more patients to do well. 

The findings of the study hint towards the departure of melanoma - an aggressive form of skin cancer, that is most often considered fatal once it has spread to the liver. 

"Although there has been a great deal of excitement about the new medical therapies, which are clearly enormous advances, those are still not the answers for everyone," said lead investigator Mark Faries, MD, FACS, Director of the Donald L. Morton, MD, Melanoma Research Program at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif, according to the press release. "We've been proponents of metastasectomy for a long time and wanted to know how our patients who had been treated surgically for liver metastases had done."

Researchers studied medical records of 1,078 patients who had been treated for melanoma liver metastases since 1991. Of the total patients considered 58 were treated surgically with liver resection. 

"What we have seen in previous studies is that many patients who are able to undergo resection of their metastatic disease from melanoma can have good long-term outcomes, which is important to remember even in an era of more effective medications," Dr. Faries explained in the press release. 

The study has been published in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 

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