Melanoma Res 1992 Jan-Feb;1(5-6):311-25
Clinical Immunology Service, National Cancer Institute, Naples, Italy.
The increased incidence of disease, the relative unresponsiveness of advanced tumour to conventional therapies, and high socioeconomic costs make the malignant melanoma an aggressive cancer. During the last decade, several new biological agents have been developed, some of which have shown significant activity in the treatment of disease. However, the impact on the management of melanoma patients is still far from being conclusive. Among biological response modifiers (BRMs), interferons (IFNs) have generated a great deal of interest and have been extensively employed, although incorrectly. IFNs have been used without a specific rationale and at antiproliferative rather than biologically active doses; no extensive laboratory monitoring has been performed. In this paper data available in the current literature are reviewed and the efficacies of the different IFNs, used alone or in combination and in various treatment regimens, are compared in order to understand what is the place of IFNs in the management of patients with metastatic melanoma. Results are encouraging but still disappointing with the most effective treatment, with an overall response rate of 28.5% (10.5% complete responses). However, these results need confirmation. In conclusion, IFN is effective in the therapy of advanced melanoma, but improved response rates are necessary before it may be suitable for general, rather than investigative, use. Alternative biotherapeutical approaches and strategies are suggested.