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2015 Publications/Research Dr. Steve Martinez

100% Complete response rate in patients with cutaneous metastatic melanoma treated with intralesional interleukin (IL)-2, imiquimod, and topical retinoid combination therapy: Results of a case series.

Authors: Shi VY, Tran K, Patel F, Leventhal J, Konia T, Fung MA, Wilken R, Garcia MS, Fitzmaurice SD, Joo J, Monjazeb AM, Burrall BA, King B, Martinez S, Christensen SD, Maverakis E.


Patients with cutaneous melanoma metastases have experienced excellent responses to intralesional interleukin (IL)-2. This has led to its recent inclusion into the US National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for management of cutaneous melanoma metastases. Despite this, intralesional IL-2 has not been highlighted in the US literature nor have US physicians adopted it.


We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of intralesional IL-2 combined with topical imiquimod and retinoid for treatment of cutaneous metastatic melanoma.


A retrospective case series of 11 patients with cutaneous metastatic melanoma were treated with intralesional IL-2 combined with topical imiquimod and retinoid.


A 100% complete local response rate with long-term follow-up (average of 24 months) was seen in all 11 patients treated with this proposed regimen. Biopsy specimens of treated sites confirmed absence of malignant cells. The most common treatment-related adverse event was rigors.


Small number of patients, retrospective review of charts, and lack of a comparison group were limitations.


Intralesional IL-2 administered concomitantly with topical imiquimod and a retinoid cream is a promising therapeutic option for managing cutaneous melanoma metastases. The regimen was well tolerated and should be considered as a reasonable alternative to surgical excision.