Systematic review: surgery for patients with metastatic melanoma during active treatment with ipilimumab.

Document Type


Publication Date



Oncology, Surgery

Journal Title

The American surgeon

MeSH Headings

Antibodies, Monoclonal, Combined Modality Therapy, Humans, Ipilimumab, Melanoma, Neoplasm Staging, Skin Neoplasms


Studies of ipilimumab have shown improved overall survival in patients with metastatic cutaneous melanoma. As a result, use of ipilimumab in patients with Stage IV melanoma is rapidly increasing. Patients with Stage IV melanoma often require urgent operations for complications from metastases, but little is known about the safety of surgical intervention for patients receiving ipilimumab. We performed a systematic review of the literature using PubMed. Our search terms were melanoma and ipilimumab. We excluded foreign language articles, review articles, and those not addressing cutaneous melanoma. We identified 194 publications matching the search criteria. Only six of those met the inclusion criteria. In these six publications, seven patients who had undergone surgical intervention during treatment with ipilimumab were described. There were no documented surgical complications. We reviewed our institutional experience and identified an additional three patients. No postoperative complications could be attributed directly to ipilimumab. There are limited data on the safety of surgical intervention during treatment with ipilimumab. Preliminary reports suggest there is no reason to withhold or delay surgery for patients receiving ipilimumab therapy.



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