Surgery of small bowel melanoma metastases in the era of efficient medical therapies: a retrospective cohort study

Nausicaa Malissen, Georges Farvacque, Pauline Duconseil, David Jérémie Birnbaum, Claire Falque, Nicolas Macagno, Jean Jacques Grob, Caroline Gaudy-Marqueste, Vincent Moutardier

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2 Scopus citations


Surgery of small bowel melanoma metastases has to be reconsidered in the era of targeted treatments and immunotherapy. To retrospectively assess context and outcomes of small bowel melanoma metastases resections. All consecutive melanoma patients who underwent resection of small bowel metastases between 2011 and 2017, in a single referral center, were retrospectively analyzed through melanoma-specific survival (MSS). A total of 20 patients were included with a 47.8 months median follow-up. Before small bowel surgery, eight patients (40%) were asymptomatic while seven had anemia and five patients had abdominal pain. All resections were decided on tumor boards except for three surgeries performed in the emergency setting. In the whole cohort, MSS was 89.5 months with 50% of patients alive at the study endpoint. We classified surgical indications in three groups: (1) surgery as a pivotal treatment for mono- or oligo-metastases limited to the small bowel (n = 6); (2) salvage surgery for symptomatic patients in order to preserve their chances to switch to an active line of medical treatment (n = 8); and (3) surgery of small bowel dissociated metastatic progression for patients otherwise controlled (n = 6), aiming at keeping patients with the same treatment or active follow-up. In these three situations, the objective of surgery was usually met, and most patients had a long median MSS after surgery: 70.3 months, 89.5 months and 72.4 months, respectively. Although medical treatments have dramatically improved survival in metastatic melanoma, surgical control of life-threatening localization like small bowel metastases is often a condition for long survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • digestive
  • melanoma
  • metastases
  • small bowel
  • small intestine
  • surgery


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